So much of our own experience often has to do with “others.” We look outward as we navigate our normal lives while trying to conceive. The challenge is often the longing for a child becomes extremely strong. Other’s experiences (pregnant friends or co-workers) impede on our ability to relate and be social. Our complex reaction to something seemingly simple, like a baby shower, can effect our potential to enjoy and relish in others’happiness. We may feel triggered and set off by things relating to other people because we are feeling vulnerable and in a stage of wanting our situation to be different. Interpersonal mindfulness is a tool that can help challenge the familiar experience of social stress relating to friends and family while you are trying to conceive.
Interpersonal mindfulness is a dialogic meditation practice you can use to confront stress relating to interpersonal relationships. Essentially you shift yourself into a mode where you are inquisitive. In the inquisitive mode, you are confronting conditioned ways of speaking and thinking while learning to pause in stillness. Most often our interpersonal reactions occur in a split second. We may not even know what it was that upset us. Interpersonal mindfulness is a process that involves a lot of practice. Pick someone you are close to and practice.
Five tips towards interpersonal mindfulness
- Slow Down. The slower you go about your daily life, the faster you will be able to catch intrusive, unwanted negative thoughts. Mindful breathing or anchoring exercises with your body are excellent ways to slow your system down.
- Listen. If you are truly listening to the other person, you are not listening to the thoughts in your head that may be creating worry and anxiety. You need to make a decision about which thoughts and which focus you’re going to feed.
- Notice without judgment. Judgment is the mind’s conviction that your life should be different, you should be different, others should be different. This can take the form of complaining, extreme negativity or gossiping. You can express this energy to others and/or keep it as an internal dialogue – both are damaging to the self. The more you tune into our judgments the more you can consciously let them go.
- Use a mantra. Create an empowering saying to use in the back of your mind. This is a good distraction and reminder of who you really are. Attaching an image or visualization to the mantra forces us to consider other ways of responding.
- Be in loving kindness. If you know you are going to a specific event that may trigger you, you can prepare by doing a loving kindness meditation. Think of the person or circumstance making you anxious. As you sit with the feeling, notice what comes up for you.
Here is a short guided loving kindness video.
Amira Posner is Healing Infertility’s lead clinician. Amira is a professional therapist with Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Social Work from the University of Manitoba. Amira has unique mind body training. She is a certified hypnotherapist and is a Fertile Body Method Practitioner. She runs Mind Body Fertility Groups at Mt. Sinai Hospital.