So much is written about how stress effects health but so little is done to help the couple dealing with fertility issues address their stress. And the treatment couples receive many times adds to the stress. Many studies are now even showing oxidative stress on the smallest life units in your body, your cells, is associated with fertility issues. The irony in that is many of the conventional treatments for fertility issues are associated with oxidative stress as well. Oxidative stress is the physiological stress that the body undergoes at the cellular level, the higher degree of oxidative stress a person exhibits speeds up the degeneration or breakdown of our cells, and is directly related to the aging process. As a matter of fact in one study women who reported themselves as being the most stressed in the group studied had ��undergone the equivalent of approximately 10 years of additional aging� of their cells. (University of California at San Diego and American Academy of Sciences 2004) I say this all the time but the eggs, follicles, ovaries, endometrial lining and the semen and sperm are made up of cells. Oxidative stress can be cause by chemicals, synthetic medications, some foods, too much exercise and can also be psychologically induced (thoughts, emotions, perceptions) stress as discussed above. Antioxidants work to reduce oxidative stress and are extremely important but not the topic of this tip today. What other ways can decrease the stress on your body and hopefully improve the health of your cells? I have written many tips about how to let go of anger, sadness, fear, guilt and negative patterns or negative thought processes but I like Sapolnsky�s approach, he says, there are three ways to reduce the impact of stress on the body: 1) Eliminate it 2) Change your reponse to it 3) Prepare for it These steps are simple, straightforward and summarise exactly what I speak with our patients about each week. 1) Eliminate the stress. This seems the most obvious. If it�s stressing you out, get rid of it. In other words, get rid of whatever the �it� is and the stress will go too. Well, this is easy said then done when talking about fertility issues. But is one of the reasons why people take breaks from trying to get pregnant naturally or with IVF. By taking a break you eliminate or atleast significantly decrease the stress overall. But what about when you want to start trying again? What can you do? This is where the other two steps come in: 2) Change your response to it. This is partly what I have been describing in tips for over a year now, and in my workshops and in my individual counseling sessions. The words that I use are �Shift Your Focus�, but I like what Sapolsky says too, �change your response to it�. How do you do it? Well part of it is letting go of the negative emotions attached to it (see previous fertility tips for this). The other part is possibly taking a break from what you are perceiving to cause you stress. And still the other part is asking yourself, �why is having a baby important to me?� And when you get that answer ask yourself, �What is that important to me?� Once you come up with these answers you will see where your motivations comes from to have a child, and many times I find that it doesn�t have anything to do with the child but more to do with how you view yourself. I have had males and females who were really honest with each other say �they want to feel accepted, they want to feel loved, they want to have unconditional love, they want to share their love with another human being�. There are so many answers. What is your answer to this question? Once you find it then concentrate on fulfilling this part of you and focus on how else you can do this in addition to having a baby. Shift your focus to that and work on really loving who you really are while you are continuing to work towards expanding your existing family. A baby remember doesn�t make a family. A baby or child is a beautiful gift that expands your family. Another way to decrease or get rid of stress from things you have to do is think of it differently. If you can�t stand temperature charting because it �reminds you of the fertility issues you are experiencing� then change the way you look at the temp chart. There are women who don�t mind doing it, because they understand it does not define their fertility. We have people who aren�t trying to get pregnant doing their temperature charts. Remind yourself that it is just information that gives an indication of the balance of your hormones and what we can target in your program. 3) Prepare yourself for it. This is what I see that many of the couples going through IVF or assisted procedures DO NOT do because they either rush into the procedure, do not understand what the drugs are doing (see Fertility tip on how IVF drugs work), and do not get themselves emotionally prepared for all possibilities. There are so many ways to prepare yourself for these procedures or even for the possibility of getting your period every month. You can prepare yourself from a physiological perspective. By this I mean do whatever you can to get healthier. Find the best supplements, eat right, exercise sensibly, and eliminate the toxic chemicals in your life that you are exposed to. (more in other fertility tips and ebooks) And you can prepare yourself psychologically by understanding the process, understanding that your body takes time to improve and balance itself, and address stress through counseling, reading our tips, meditation, workshops, and asking for support from those you love. Realize that your fertility won�t drop off in a few months time so take time out to prepare yourself physiologically and emotionally for whatever your plans may be. If you just go through the motions and don�t prepare yourself for creating a child by doing more than just reading more information now, then you will likely create more stress for yourself. Remember, if you don�t go within, You are likely to go without! Go within so you can create the life that you long for. Take care Stacey Roberts Copyright This tip is the property of Positive Image Publishing and Stacey Roberts. This information is not allowed to be reproduced in any form without the expressed written consent of Positive Image Publishing or Stacey Roberts.