Why Journal on your Fertility Journey?

fertility sleep

The most common question that I get asked as The Fertility Psychologist, is whether or not stress will stop a person on a fertility treatment from getting pregnant. My answer is always that ultimately, NO, it will not. Based on my clinical experience over the past 20 years and the available scientific data, feeling stressed will not stop you getting pregnant. However, it will not make you feel good, either mentally or physically.

Countless research studies highlight the physical and psychological harm caused by suppressing our emotions and since stress is an inevitable part of fertility treatment for most people, so learning strategies to express and process the emotional experience is a key element of remaining physically and psychologically well.

Therefore this article is going to outline why journaling is a powerful tool to help you express your emotions, make sense of your experiences and organise your thoughts and feelings about your fertility journey. I will also recommend a simple, effective and efficient journaling protocol, that I think you will love.

What is Journaling?

fertility journaling

At its core, journaling involves the regular practice of writing down thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It offers a safe space for self-expression and reflection, allowing individuals to process emotions, gain insights into their behaviors, and track their mental health throughout their fertility journey.

What are the benefits of Journaling?

Stress Reduction

Putting thoughts and experiences into words has been shown to reduce the emotional toll of stressful experiences. Hence why talking to people or reading about other people’s similar experiences can feel cathartic and healing.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the stress-reducing effects of journaling. By expressing pent-up emotions and worries on paper, individuals can unload psychological burdens, leading to decreased levels of stress and anxiety.

Self Reflection

Journaling facilitates reflection and self-discovery, fostering a deeper understanding of one’s thoughts, beliefs, and values. Therefore, through the process of writing, individuals can identify patterns, triggers, and coping mechanisms, empowering them to make positive changes on their fertility journey. This heightened self-awareness is associated with greater resilience and improved overall well-being.

Improvements in Mood

Several studies have linked regular journaling to improvements in mood and mental health outcomes. Research published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that individuals who engaged in expressive writing experienced significant reductions in depressive symptoms compared to those who did not. Similarly, a meta-analysis published in Advances in Psychiatric Treatment concluded that journaling interventions were associated with improvements in anxiety, depression, and overall psychological well-being.

The Fertility Psychologist

So how do you start?

A founding researcher into the field of expressive writing and journaling is Dr J Pennebaker. He has spent years researching the impact of language on our inner experiences and how we can most effectively utilise this. Therefore the Pennebaker Writing Protocol is the ideal place to start your journaling practice on your fertility journey. It really is as simple as the four brief steps below and if you want to hear more about it I recommend the Humberman Lab Podcast.

Pennebaker Writing Protocol

  1. Write for 15 minutes per week for 4 weeks.
  2. Write about the same challenging aspect of your fertility journey at each session.
  3. Be honest in your writing.
  4. Do not worry about spelling, grammar or style.

This is a free and simple strategy to help you express the stress and emotional experiences along your fertility journey. If you need more structure and guidance you can download my free journaling prompts.

Do I think this will get you pregnant? No, but I think it will help you manage the psychological impact of a fertility journey.

Just put pen to paper and let it flow.

I love hearing from you, feel free to get in touch with feedback, questions or suggestions for future blogs.

With love and compassion, Marie

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