During this arduous time of COVID-19 and all of its repercussions, it’s important to take care of your mind and body in the resilient pursuit of happiness and the future you want for yourself. For many, it’s challenging to use this time for self-betterment when being bogged down by fears, stressors, and general worry. ORM Fertility’s on-site Psychologist, Britta Dinsmore, Ph.D., put together this collection of resources for meditation, mindfulness, and calming anxiety. These resources could help you acknowledge your current experiences, cope with any anxiety and grief, and help you regain a sense of calm.
Ten Percent Happier
“Meditation for the rest of us—that is, those who are turned off by the idea, thinking it’s some kind of hokey, hippie, crystal-waving practice, you know, the skeptics.” Features a “Coronavirus Sanity Guide” with various meditation recordings
Non-profit dedicated to “inspiring, guiding, and connecting anyone who wants to explore mindfulness—to enjoy better health, more caring relationships, and a compassionate society. “ Temporarily offering many of its resources free of charge, including its online course, “Find Calm and Nourish Resilience”
“Everyday mindfulness and meditation for stress, anxiety, sleep, focus, fitness, and more…” Offers daily guided meditations online or via mobile app.
Offers daily mindfulness exercises aimed to help users develop a practice in just a few minutes each day
Stop Breathe & Think
Customizes guided meditations based on user’s reported thoughts/feelings
Living Zen Podcast
Offers recorded talks about Zen and mindfulness via podcast or mobile app
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Resources
MBSR an evidence-based program that offers secular, intensive mindfulness training to assist people with stress, anxiety, depression, and pain. MBSR uses a combination of mindfulness meditation, body awareness, and simple yoga postures/mindful movement.
MBSR: 25 Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Exercises and Courses
Free online MBSR course created by a certified MBSR instructor and psychotherapist
Meditation Resources with Fertility-Specific Focus
Features guided meditations drawing upon the mind-body connection to promote healing, insight, growth, and change. Different meditations are available for relaxation, wellness, stress, and fertility.
A blend of Western psychology and Eastern spiritual practices emphasizing mindful attention to our inner life, and full, compassionate engagement with our world. Featuring “Guided Meditation for Times of Pandemic,” as well as meditations specific to fertility challenges and more general meditations focused on emotional well-being, relaxation, and managing stress.
Circle + Bloom
Series of guided meditation programs utilizing the mind-body connection to empower individuals to achieve general health/wellness goals, as well as goals specific to fertility and family building. Different programs are available for natural efforts to conceive, IVF/IUI, Frozen embryo transfer, egg/embryo donation, PCOS, relaxation for fertility challenges, and men’s relaxation.
How to Meditate with Anxiety
The present moment isn’t always a place of rest. Meditation can put us in touch with our stress and anxiety which, paradoxically, can lead to a softening of feelings of anxiousness, a reduction in stress, and a calming of panic.
Anxiety is a reaction to experiencing too much stress all at once. While this happens to most people at one time or another when that feeling of being “always on alert” becomes a constant, both physical health and emotional well being can be negatively impacted.
Calming Anxiety in Three Steps:
- Open your attention to the present moment- Bring your attention to your experience in a wider and more open manner, without selecting or choosing or evaluating, but simply holding. Allow yourself to be a container for thoughts, feelings, or sensations in the body that are present, watching them ebb and flow and change from one moment to the next.
- Focus on the breath- Next, begin to shift into a more concentrated and centered focus, narrowing your attention to your breathing, in whatever region of your body you have awareness of it— the belly, or the chest, or the nostrils, or anywhere that the breath makes itself known, and keeping that more concentrated focus.
- Bring your attention to your body- Shift your attention outward again to become aware of sensations in the body as a whole, sitting with the whole body, the whole breath, once again as you move back to a wider and spacious container of attention.
When we get caught up in patterns of reactivity, we create more distress in our lives. This is why it’s so important to discern the difference between reacting with unawareness and responding with mindfulness. Mindfulness allows us to create a little space between ourselves and what we’re experiencing.
How Mindfulness Calms Anxious Feelings
- Mindfulness helps you stay with difficult feelings without fighting against them, escalating them, or pushing them away. Paradoxically, when you allow yourself to feel and acknowledge your fears, frustrations, and longings, they often tend to dissipate.
- Mindfulness creates an opportunity to clarify and understand your anxiety and fear. By allowing yourself simply to accept and “be” with your emotions, an opportunity is created to gain insight into what’s underlying your worries. This self-awareness may relieve some of the helpless and out-of-control feelings that drive anxiety.
- Mindfulness creates space around your worries so you are not consumed by them. By adopting an observing and noticing stance toward your thoughts and feelings, a sense of spaciousness naturally emerges, allowing for a recognition that thoughts and feelings do not define you and that you can tolerate them.