10 Ways to Fight Stress During Pregnancy
Three Deep Breaths
Meditation can help you positively focus your thoughts. If you’ve never meditated before, Thomas Crum, author of several books, including Three Deep Breaths: Finding Power and Purpose in a Stressed-Out World, gives a simple technique that you can integrate into your day. Practice breathing deeply: inhale by filling the belly first then the chest, exhale first out of the belly, then the chest. Once you feel comfortable, use the three-deep-breath strategy. For the first breath, what Crum calls, the Centering Breath, reenergize by doing one deep, calming breath. For the second breath, or the Possibility Breath, think of what you want to be, for instance a good mother, more organized, more confident. Finally, with the last breath, or the Discovery Breath, think about all of the possibilities in your life, what your new little one will be like, whether she’ll have your eyes, whether he’ll have your taste in music.
As a father, Crum understands that we often get caught up during the day and can’t find time to meditate, so he suggests triggers, or anchors, to help us remember. For instance, don’t just say that you’re going to meditate before you shower, have the shower handle as a trigger and do your three deep breaths before you get in. The steering wheel might be another anchor—every time you get into the car and touch the wheel, that’s your reminder to breathe in deeply three times.
Crum compares the cumulative effect of these short meditation sessions to an aerobic workout. “Just like we know that you can have three, 10-minute aerobic sessions throughout the day that add up to a good physical workout, with this meditation process you can align yourself and relax in multiple, short sessions during the day without ever closing your eyes.”
Try a News Fast
Miriam Belov, creator of The Wellness Agenda: Creative Concentration based in New York City, has been advising her clients about mind/body health for over 30 years. She recommends pregnant women treat themselves to a news fast.
“We’re bombarded by news 24/7,” says Belov. “Often there’s very little positive news.” She explains that during pregnancy you experience a heightened sensitivity. While you don’t have to ignore what’s going on in the world, you don’t have to hear about it all the time. “I truly believe those nine months of pregnancy are crucial for the fetus. Why aggravate yourself by listening to the news?” You may also want to include in your media fast television shows that make you anxious such as CSI or ER. Chick flick, anyone?
Learn to Say No
“One of the greatest challenges to mothers today is prioritizing and saying no to lesser priorities,” explains Bria Simpson, a parenting coach, mother of three, and the author of The Balanced Mom: Raising Your Kids Without Losing Your Self
“Whenever someone asks something of you, tell them you’ll think about it and get back to them,” says Simpson. “In the next 24 hours, ask yourself—’Is this request a top priority? And does it help me maintain a healthy balance?’ If the answer is no, say no. Become a master mom at saying no, now, and your journey into motherhood will be much more enjoyable!”
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