The Three Rs of Positive Self-Talk
A positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug. ~ Patricia Neal
On the worst day of her life, Alice* had a series of blood tests done at her fertility clinic.
“Will my stress affect the results?” she asked as she sat down.Her nurse reassured her, but when Alice called later, her FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) was the highest it had ever been. She certainly felt that the ‘perfect storm’ of argument with her husband, a phone call about a family member’s poor health and a report about the foundations of her home (a big repair job) had put her over the top.
In addition to her regular TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) appointments, she spent the next month refocusing her internal dialogue so that it was more positive. One month later, the lab results showed a dramatic improvement in her fertility.
Medical research is clear: hormones that activate with stress (cortisol, catecholamines, vasopressin, and prolactin to name a few) impair fertility. The fight-flight-freeze response that can accompany stress automatically puts reproduction low on the list of priorities.
Every time Alice ruminated on the problems in her life, her chi, or life force, destabilized. Positive thoughts are like electricity running in the proper direction. Negative thoughts and heavy stress biologically runs electricity backwards. When your chi is balanced and harmonized, your body naturally supports good health, including pregnancy.
One way to support your body’s chi is with the Three Rs: Recognize and Release non-supportive thoughts and then Replace with positive thoughts and images.
Recognize in your self-talk what thoughts do not support success. This first step is essential: you cannot change what you are unaware of.
Release the thought. There are many ways to do this—a simple one is mentally imagine a big Cancel/Delete button in your mind’s eye and then send it to a virtual Blue Box (or a compost pile). Many of us have thoughts that replay over and over and sometimes we feel powerless when that ‘hamster wheel’ in the mind is spinning. You do have control.
Replace with a more positive thought that is a closer fit with what you want.
For example: My eggs are too old can be replaced with I surround my ovaries with healing energy. You might also want to imagine your ovaries soaking up the good energy and creating healthy, happy follicles that mature into beautiful eggs.
Some examples of Replace statements are:
• I surround my ovaries, tubes and uterus with healing energy/love
• My body easily creates healthy perfect eggs
• My body ovulates at the perfect time, in the perfect way for an easy pregnancy.
• I choose healthy, nutritious food to support an easy pregnancy to term.
• I open my heart to my baby/babies.
• My hormone levels are healthy, balanced and strong,
• I fill my uterus with love and happiness.
• My pregnancy is safe and healthy all the way to term.
One of the easiest ways to incorporate the Three Rs is throughout your day—if a negative ‘pop-up’ comes to your awareness, this process takes just a few seconds and it can be easily incorporated into your usual activities.
You may find it helpful to carry your Replace statements on index cards and review them regularly. Some people find it helpful to post reminders in the home, car and work place. Vision boards (positive sayings and pictures) can be simple or elaborate. And become digitally creative: add a variety of positive statements to your calendar, your phone, and screen shots on your computer. Some people also find it helpful to have a ‘buddy’ system: your partner or a friend can gently remind you to ‘Cancel/Delete.’
If you can find some moments to get comfortable, take a few slow deep breaths, centre yourself and focus on your positive statement(s). This helps reinforce the changes you want. You can repeat your statement in your mind only, but verbalizing aloud does help re-pattern additional brain functions. Initially, this can feel awkward, but it gets easier with practice.
Note: Mindfulness Meditation trains us to notice our negative thoughts without judgement. Ideally, the Three Rs process is also used without judgement: we are simply identifying the thoughts that we prefer. Similarly, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is very helpful to many (e.g. “It’s just a thought. It doesn’t mean it is true.”) Different strategies exercise different parts of the brain and enhanced brain flexibility is a good thing.
The biggest challenge that most people find is the third step, Replace. For many of us initially, ‘believable’ is more important than positive. Too big of a jump (i.e. negative to positive) usually sets up resistance in the mind and ‘thinking positive’ can make us feel more miserable because it highlights that what we want hasn’t happened yet. Do your best. With time, positive internal dialogue will become natural and automatic.
Positive statements and images speak the ‘language’ of the inner mind (subconscious/unconscious). As you reinforce your mind in positive ways (however you do this: Three Rs, meditation, CBT) your TCM treatments become more effective and long-lasting.
Hypnosis is a way to turbo-charge your Three Rs. Self-hypnosis or hypnosis guided by another person or a recording has the added benefit of deep relaxation, which helps promote healthy fertility. In fact, research shows that hypnosis is associated with pregnancy success rates twice that of the control group (Levitas, 2006).
The Three Rs mp3 is not hypnosis or meditation; it contains a range of positive statements that can help you familiarize yourself to this process.
Shawn Gallagher, BCH and HypnoFertility Practitioner at ALIVE Holistic Health
Free Positive Affirmation Recording