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Brain Science and Optimal Fertile Health

by | Jan 30, 2017 | Mindfulness | 0 comments

Let’s talk about the brain again. We know from the findings in neuroscience that the mental and emotional changes we can create through mindfulness are transformational at the very physical level of the brain.

By developing the ability to focus our attention on our internal experience in the Mindful Fertility meditations, we are picking up a scalpel we can use to re-sculpt our neural pathways, stimulating growth of areas of the brain that are crucial to mental health and fertility.

Fertile health emerges when we help the brain achieve INTEGRATION, a process by which separate elements are linked together into a working whole.

For example, you have a left side of the brain that helps you think logically and organize thoughts into sentences, and a right side of the brain that helps you experience emotions and read nonverbal cues.

You also have a “reptilian brain” that allows you to act instinctively and make split-second survival decisions, and a “mammal brain” that leads you toward connection and relationships.

One part of your brain is devoted to dealing with memory; another is making moral and ethical decisions.

The key to fertile health is helping these parts work well together-to integrate them. Integration takes the distinct parts of your brain and helps them work together as a whole.

It’s similar to what happens in the body, which has different organs to perform different jobs: the ovaries produce eggs, the uterus grows the embryo, the pituitary gland releases hormones.

For the body to be fertile, these organs and glands all need to be integrated. In other words, they need to do their individual job while working together as a whole.

Integration is simply that: linking different elements together as a whole.

Just as with the healthy functioning of the body, your brain can’t perform at its best unless its different parts work together in a coordinated and balanced way. That’s what integration does: it coordinates and balances the separate regions of the brain that it links together.

It’s easy to see when you aren’t integrated – you become overwhelmed by your emotions, confused, unsure and chaotic – what should I do?  or “I don’t feel safe.”

You have a hard time responding calmly and with skill to the situation at hand. During most challenging life experiences we experience a loss of integration, also known as dis-integration.

If your body is not responding to medical interventions, you have experienced repeated failed IVF’s and/or you have experienced any kind of trauma in your life, including recurring pregnancy loss, stillbirths, rape, incest, physical or emotional abuse, you likely have a brain that needs help with integration.

Mindfulness helps you become better integrated so you can use your whole brain in a coordinated way while trying to conceive.

For example, you want to become horizontally integrated, so that your left brain logic can work well with your right brain emotion. And you want to be vertically integrated, so that the physically higher parts of your brain, which let you thoughtfully consider your actions, work well with the lower parts, which are more concerned with instinct, gut reactions and survival.

As you strengthen your ability to focus your mind while trying to conceive, you are defusing the scary and traumatic emotions in your right brain so that they don’t rule you.

You do this by bringing factual details from your left brain, thoughts like, “in this moment reality is the way that it is,” so you can deal with this moment in a way that makes sense.

So you are integrating the left and right sides of your brain, literally strengthening their connection.

Thinking “reality should be different than it is in this moment,” when reality is what it is, creates chaos in the brain, resulting in loss of integration and loss of fertile well-being.

Did I peak your curiosity? Here is an exercise to deepen your understanding….

One of the hallmarks of dis-integration is offloading hurt.

We all have barriers to feeling emotion.

Instead of numbing, blaming, being overly sweet or accommodating, remaining stuck, stockpiling the pain in your body, say to yourself, “It’s OK. Whatever it is, It’s OK. Let me feel it. I am safe.” Then just stay with the awareness of the feelings and your relationship to them, accepting them, letting them be.

It may be supportive and helpful to repeat “It’s OK. Whatever it is, It’s OK. Let me feel it. I am safe.” Softening and opening to the sensations and feelings you become aware of. Saying to yourself, ‘soften,’ ‘open,’ on each out breath.

And then ask yourself, “How did the adults around me process emotions when I was a child?” “How do I offload hurt this way?”

Do this every time you notice yourself numbing, blaming, being overly sweet or accommodating, remaining stuck, stockpiling the pain in your body.

Fertile health is optimized when our brain is integrated. When the neocortex has a mindful map, “Reality, in this moment, is the way that it is,” it can integrate with lower parts of the brain; the limbic brain and the brain stem. And our emotional reactivity starts to settle. The limbic brain is no longer saying…”OMG!! All systems fire!!! Danger, danger – there is something wrong.” Life should be different than it is right now – fire the cortisol, fire the adrenaline. Something is wrong!!! Yikes. Mobilize. Danger.

When the brain is more integrated, you can pursue your desire to become a Mom with much greater efficiency and skill and your body is primed for optimal fertile health.

All my very best, always,

Buffy

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