Mindfulness has been a real buzzword in 2014 and looks to continue gaining traction in 2015. With more and more apps coming on board claiming to help you 'be mindful', we have no excuse not to give this new fad a try.
Of course, it's nowhere near a new idea. Just take a look at any Buddhist sites or books and you'll find that Mindfulness is what's at the bottom of a Buddhist's daily practice -which makes it around 3000 years old.
What's new is that the 'trappings' of what was known as 'meditation' e.g. sitting cross legged for hours or spending time in a monastery have now been abandoned and the focus ison being able to use this practice in our every day lives, to improve our everyday lives. Sounds simple?
Of course it's not. At least, not if you set yourself impossible goals like: 'I'm going to be mindful all day today'. The best we beginners can hope for is 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there - but it's a start! If you set yourself realistic goals and keep them up on a daily basis then progress will be made.
The point of it all is, from a fertility perspective, to help balance our hormones. Our daily lives are mostly lived in 'fight or flight' mode, with high levels of adreneline which imbalances reproductive hormones such as progesterone and oestrogen. When your body thinks it has a rabid wolf to fight it's not going to listen to you saying you want to conceive - it's going to shut down blood flow to non-vital organs (such as the uterus) and ignore anything to do with reproduction. It'll only switch those back on properly when it feels that it's safe to reproduce i.e. if you're counter-balancing the stressful times with a healthy amount of rest and relaxation. If you're constantly thinking about the next thing that has to be done at work or home, the next task to organise and wondering how you're going to fit in the weekly shopping, then the stress levels in your body will be high and it won't be able to focus on reproducing.
So how do we go about being mindful? I've narrowed it down to some simple ways to make this part of your everyday life - you don't need to worry about finding extra time. All you have to do is be where you are and do what you are doing. That's it. Just do what you're doing without thinking of anything else. You can do this in the shower, whilst walking, whilst your eating or drinking, whilst cutting up an onion, waiting in a queue or on the bus to work. Use those little moments to focus on where you are and what you're doing. Keep you focus on your immediate surroundings and whenever you feel your mind wandering (which will be frequently at first) then just bring it back as soon as you notice, without giving yourself a hard time about it.
If you can start practising this daily you should find it'll slowly get easier, adreneline levels will drop and your perspective on life should become more relaxed. Stressful situations will still arise but you should be able to process the stress much more quickly. These little seconds of hard-won mindfulness will have a big impact - Let me know how you get on!!