Emotional stress is a common and significant aspect of the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process for many couples. IVF can be an emotionally taxing journey, as it often involves a rollercoaster of hope and disappointment. The initial excitement and anticipation of the procedure can quickly give way to anxiety and stress as the process unfolds. The constant monitoring, hormone injections, and invasive procedures can create a sense of vulnerability and loss of control, which, in turn, can lead to heightened emotional distress. Furthermore, the high financial costs associated with IVF can add a layer of stress and pressure. The emotional toll of failed cycles or even the uncertainty of success can weigh heavily on the individuals involved.
Ayurveda, the ancient system of medicine from India, places a strong emphasis on achieving emotional balance and well-being as an integral part of overall health. According to Ayurveda, emotional health is closely connected to the balance of the three doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha), as well as the state of mind, diet, lifestyle, and daily routines. Ayurveda recognizes the strong connection between the mind and the body. Emotional imbalances can lead to physical health problems, and vice versa. Therefore, it’s essential to address emotional well-being to achieve positive results through IVF and as part of your overall health.
- Identify Your Dosha: Understanding your unique dosha constitution can help you tailor your lifestyle and dietary choices to maintain emotional balance. Vata individuals, for example, may need routines and calming practices, while Pitta individuals may benefit from cooling and soothing activities.
- Balanced Diet: Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of a balanced and nourishing diet. Eating a clean, wholesome, and fresh diet devoid of any kinds of chemicals and toxins is key to good physical and emotional health. Ayurveda recommends eating sattvic (pure and fresh) foods for good physical and mental health. Both Rajasic (fiery, too spicy, salty, or sour ) and tamasic (spoiled and processed) foods harm mental health. Include whole grains, seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and some healthy fats from nuts and seeds in your diet.
Excess sugar, processed food, stale food, caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco are not good for emotional health, though at first, they feel comforting. Eating foods that are suitable for your dosha can help stabilize your emotions. For example, if you have a Pitta constitution, you might benefit from a diet that’s cooling and includes sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes. Eat at regular intervals and at a designated place to feel complete satisfaction.
- Daily Routine (Dinacharya): Establishing a daily routine that aligns with your dosha and nature’s cycle can help maintain emotional equilibrium. This includes practices like waking up early, meditation, yoga, and daily self-care rituals and hygiene. Leading a disciplined life makes you more emotionally stable and resilient.
- Yoga and meditation: Ayurveda encourages the practice of meditation and yoga to calm the mind, reduce stress, and promote emotional balance. Both these practices are highly effective in managing emotions and stress. Yoga and pranayama are powerful tools for managing and alleviating emotional stress. Yoga is a holistic practice that combines physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation to promote physical and mental well-being.
When it comes to emotional stress, the physical postures in yoga can help release tension and improve flexibility, which in turn can reduce feelings of anxiety and agitation. Yoga postures like vrakshasana(tree pose), padmasana (lotus pose), Bal asana(child pose), shav asana (corpse pose), and trikonasana (triangle pose) are extremely beneficial for mental peace. Yoga Nidra, or yogic sleep, is a guided meditation practice that induces deep relaxation and reduces stress. It involves progressively relaxing different parts of the body while maintaining awareness.
Visualizing positive results of IVF during meditation can also be helpful for mental health. Chanting “Aum” is believed to have a calming and soothing effect on the mind and body. You can chant it during your meditation or as a standalone practice.
- Pranayama, on the other hand, is the practice of controlling the breath. This ancient yogic technique involves conscious regulation of the breath to calm the mind and balance the emotions. It helps reduce the body’s stress response, leading to a sense of calm and tranquility. Deep, mindful breathing techniques like diaphragmatic breathing or alternate nostril breathing can soothe the nervous system and enhance emotional resilience. Nadi shodhana pranayama, Bhastrika, Bhramari can help balance the brain’s hemispheres and calm the mind.
When practiced together, yoga and pranayama can be a potent means of managing emotional stress. Regular practice helps individuals become more in tune with their bodies and emotions, fostering self-awareness and emotional regulation. It’s important to note that these practices are not a quick fix, but with consistency, they can provide long-term benefits in reducing emotional stress, improving mental health, and promoting an overall sense of well-being.
Ayurveda offers a range of herbal remedies to support emotional health. Herbs like ashwagandha, Brahmi, and shankhpushpi are known for their calming and mood-balancing properties. Jatamanasi herb is renowned for its calming and soothing effects, making it a valuable ally in managing anxiety and promoting emotional balance.
- Abhyanga : Regular massage with warm oils can help reduce stress and promote emotional well-being. The choice of oil may vary depending on your dosha. Usually, coconut oil, sesame oil, or almond oil is used.
- Ayurvedic Therapies: Panchakarma, a detoxification and rejuvenation therapy in Ayurveda, can help remove emotional toxins and balance the doshas. It includes a series of steps performed under expert guidance. These include Snehana (oleation), Swedana (steam bath), Nasya(nasal therapy), Basti(enema), Vamana(emesis), Virechana(purgation) to get rid of body toxins or ‘ama’. Detoxification releases both physical and emotional stress from the body leaving you more balanced and confident.
- Embrace Nature: Spending time in nature, whether through walks in the woods or simply sitting in a garden, can have a calming and grounding effect on your emotions. Practices like mud therapy have a calming and soothing effect on the mind and body.
Ayurveda encourages self-awareness and mindfulness. Staying emotionally balanced during IVF will support your body in getting positive results from the procedure. Anxiety and stress adversely affect the results.