Guest Blog by Naomi Shaw.
It’s no secret that life gets busy and stressful at times. Outside forces push at us everyday as we juggle careers, family, bills, relationships, and for many of us, infertility. However, there are always “those” days where life gets so busy or stressful that we just need some time to unwind and clear the clutter from our minds. These feelings find many of us longing for exotic vacations or extended sabbaticals. Unfortunately, those aren’t very practical solutions many of us can actually afford.
Taking time for “mental hygiene” can greatly improve moods and how we feel about ourselves. Not surprisingly, meditation can drastically affect our overall mental well being. Champions of this practice often boast it cuts stress, increases concentration levels, improves awareness, reduces aging, and strengthens the immune system. While these benefits can be enjoyed by everyone, it should be noted that meditation can increase our acceptance of medical and personal issues, especially when it comes to infertility.
Infertility, Stress, and the Need to Meditate
While there is a lack of concrete research showing that meditation can help people become pregnant, many doctors agree that practicing mindfulness is beneficial for couples struggling with infertility. Stress is a given part of our lives, but it can be compounded month after month when we have no good news to share. Over time, this sustained stress has the potential to affect our fertility and even our partner’s fertility!
We already know stress can affect menstruation, sometimes throwing our cycles completely off-kilter. If our bodies are in a stressful situation, it isn’t uncommon for the reproduction systems to slow down for self preservation. This biological response might be leftover from bygone days of cave and nomadic dwelling, but it still wreaks havoc on our fertility. We might miss periods, have delayed ovulation, or not ovulate at all. If that isn’t bad enough, stress can even reduce the quality of man’s sperm.
While we might not be able to control our fertility struggles, we can make it a priority to relax and cancel out stress in the equation of trying to get pregnant. Dealing with infertility can leave us feeling emotions that cloud thoughts and impact relationships. This is where mindfulness and meditation come into play. We can take a break from the present, giving us time to digest our thoughts and feelings.
Thankfully, we don’t have to look beyond our homes for a reasonable and healthy place to meditate. A recent study found that green spaces, in a variety of forms, promotes the perfect environment for reflective activities. With a little elbow grease and carefully chosen plants, we can create a refuge to visit on a daily basis in the form of a meditation garden.
4 Tips for Creating Your Own Meditation Garden
Thankfully, it doesn’t matter whether we live in an apartment or a rural farmhouse, anybody can find a peaceful sanctuary. Whether you create an oasis inside our out, the following ideas can help us design a meditation place for our own homes, backyards, or decks:
Look for ways to block out distractions and protect your space. Use taller plants, screens, or walls to hide houses, people, or traffic from your line of view. This will help muffle sounds and keep your mind from wandering about dirty dishes in the sink or neighbors mowing their yard.
Add water elements. Water is ideal for meditation gardens, because it can be used for several purposes. For one, bubbling fountains provide a soothing environment that reduces outside noises from invading the space. Second, waters reflect light and add ambience to the area. You can purchase small fountains, invest in larger water features, buy a bird bath, install a pond, or look online for ideas to fit your space. You don’t have to invest a lot of money or manpower to harness the tranquil power of water.
Keep it simple. It’s not necessary to convert your entire backyard or hire gardeners to achieve a safe place to think. The whole purpose of a meditation garden or space is to help you relax, not add more stress into your life. Choose easy to maintain plants, use containers, use areas available at home, and do what makes you happy.
Don’t forget symbolism. Traditionally, meditation areas rely on clean lines and minimalism, but the main goal is to create a space for you. Ask yourself what you need to work on as a person. If you want to work on self-reflection, use mirrors or water to remind you to look inward. Also, consider adding colorful plants with special meaning or symbolism. A good example is lavender. Commonly known for its relaxing aroma, lavender’s purple hues can symbolize love, purity, and devotion.
What tips do you have for overcoming stress?
Naomi Shaw is a freelance journalist residing in sunny Southern California with her husband and three children. She is a work-at-home mom that enjoys writing on fashion, beauty, jewelry, and health. She loves to garden, craft, and revamp furniture, making it look very much her own.