By Todd McFliker
CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports that stress hurts a woman’s chance of getting pregnant by decreasing fertility. A recent study followed 300 ladies, all of child-bearing ages, and measured their various stress levels. Women with high degrees of stress and anxiety had greater difficulty getting pregnant.
Dr. Gupta also discussed methods to reduce stress, including yoga, exercise and vacationing. While these are all excellent ways to combat anxiety in both men and women, PAIRS Foundation, an industry leader in relationship and marriage education for more than a quarter century, offers another prescription for reducing stress, anxiety and improving chances for conception.
PAIRS President Seth Eisenberg said exercises for confiding and releasing stressful emotions should be part of every couple’s preparation for conception.
“Research indicates bottling up anger, fear and sadness reduces fertility,” Eisenberg said. In PAIRS relationship and marriage education classes taught to thousands nationwide and online, couples learn to reduce stress and deepen connection through exercises such as the Daily Temperature Reading, Talking Tips, and Emptying the Emotional Jug.
Couples taking part in PAIRS’ educational classes are taught to set aside 15-20 minutes daily to increase warmth in their relationship by taking turns acknowledging each other’s specific actions that are a pleasure, sharing what’s new in their lives, checking out assumptions, confiding concerns with recommendations for change, and talking about wishes, hopes and dreams.
In PAIRS’ courses, participants also learn to Empty their Emotional Jug. In other words, they discover a healthy way to reduce the energy of powerful negative emotions, like stressful anger, sadness, and fear. Dads should devote at least 20 minutes once a week (no distractions) to listen with empathy as wives empty their emotional jugs without interrupting or trying to fix anything. By listening with empathy, rather than judgment, Eisenberg said, they help reduce stress, anxiety, and increase opportunities for pleasure, bonding and healthy relaxation. Couples are warned not to use the exercise to dump on each other, but instead to vent about events in general – the cause of much of the stress and anxiety that interferes with conception.
PAIRS Talking Tips help bring issues to the surface that might be causing anxiety. “Confiding is the lifeblood of intimacy,” Eisenberg said. The ten steps of PAIRS Talking Tips help the speaker confide different aspects of a complaint or concern with a partner who listens solely to understand.
“In many cases, listening and understanding another person’s perspective is the solution,” Eisenberg said. “Too often, men get caught up trying to defend, fix or explain. Talking Tips helps us get comfortable just listening with empathy. That’s a gift to any relationship that will go a long way to reducing stress, anxiety and conflict.”
If you have an iPhone, iPod, or iPad, PAIRS offers a free PAIRS DTR application to guide you through the five steps of the Daily Temperature Reading.
Try this natural prescription to bring more peace, connection, and pleasure to your relationship. Beyond creating the physical and emotional atmosphere research is showing to be important for fertility, the experience will help you build a stronger marriage as the foundation of your future child’s life.