Taming Negative Thinking

Because caveman was vigilant and presumed that the twig that snapped was a saber tooth tiger even if it was a raccoon, we are here. Negative thinking is encoded in our DNA and is normal.

But negative thinking becomes particularly vexing when the propensity to think negatively is compounded by the infertility experience (or any unwanted, difficult challenge for that matter). Under these circumstances, negative thinking can take up residence in the middle of your psyche and, seemingly, refuse to leave. Negative thinking can save us, but it can also be a curse. It’s fair to say that often the inclination to think negatively is like living with an inner maniac who persists in assaulting you from the inside.

resistanceSomething needs to change, right? Yet, resistance to change is another normal human phenomenon. We are hard-wired for change and we are hard-wired for homeostasis, or sameness. Sameness infers doing things habitually, which makes it easy to realize that sameness has the edge. We don’t have to think about how we do this or that, we just do it. In order to change—say it another way—in order to adapt to an unwanted reality such as infertility, we must apply mental muscle. When you feel stuck in a mental habit, in this case, thinking negatively—and worse, believing what you think—you need to know that overcoming resistance to doing something new is possible.

So these two little factoids: our habit of thinking negatively, and feeling that we are stuck with doing what the inner maniac wants, are two obstacles which stymie the path to balancing the demands of infertility with a commitment to living life as you want it to be, despite being in a heart-wrenching quest to increase your family.

My blog this time offers you an opportunity to listen to the broadcast I did on Rosanne Austin’s Love Your Journey radio show which provides the science behind your power to change. In addition, this blog also offers some interesting new research on managing negative expectations.

Listening to the podcast will provide information and inspiration on its own. But then you’ll be able to purchase access to the two hour teleclass that Rosanne and I did as a followed up to the radio show. The class provides specific strategies and techniques, replete with downloadable work sheets, which will allow you to override the negative noise and turn automatic negative thoughts into affirmations.

As for the research, on November 3, 2015, the New York Times ran a piece in the Science section (http://nyti.ms/1H2JiZx) in support of thinking negatively. In it we learn that those who are in a place of uncertainty do best if they allow themselves to worry because it heads off a precipitous disappointment. But the worrying is only productive if they come up with plan B. In the case of a fertility struggle, it is an ordeal to sit through the two week wait after an IUI, IVF or timed intercourse to learn if you’re pregnant. The research suggests that you come up with a contingency plan.

This seems to contradict the value of mind/body strategies to tame negative thinking. Why escape from negative thoughts if being with them helps? The New York Times report of the study sums it up this way. “…

[A]nxiety is a negative emotion because it feels bad, it is not a negative emotion in that it’s bad to feel it. Why wouldn’t [anyone] feel anxious, waiting for results?”

Keep in mind how much anyone would need a reprieve given that the fertility challenge can go on for a long time. It makes more sense to learn how to enjoy your life, as Rosanne says, “no matter what,” so you don’t spend years in misery.

I’d like to propose a “both/and” attitude. The radio show and the teleclass with Rosanne provide guidance for empowering yourself to create a reprieve from the demands of negative thinking and by so doing give your body and mind a chance to neutralize the toll that worrying takes when stress is ongoing. Some people worry that the ongoing stress is causing their fertility. By learning how to transform negativity, you break the spasm of stress.

So here’s your chance to find out for yourself if taming negative thinking is of value for you. For free access to the radio show, click here: http://bit.ly/1M2Ov08. If you like what you hear, you will then be in position to claim mastery over the inner maniac by utilizing the techniques which provide balance by taking the teleclass. Here’s the link: http://www.mind-body-unity.com/downloads/taming-negative-thinking/

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About the Author:

Helen Adrienne, LCSW general psychotherapist, clinical hypnotherapist, and practitioner of mind/body therapy with a specialty in infertility. New York City