Are your worries helping you?

Worrying is not helpful

Some people worry and ruminate because they believe it is somehow helpful. For example, someone might think "if I am too relaxed things are more likely to go wrong. I need to keep on my toes!" However, NO research has ever shown this to be the case. In fact, worry and rumination has a significant negative impact on your well-being. They can leave you exhausted and distract you from helpful problem solving. Here are some myths about worrying:

  • Worrying helps the problem solving process
  • Others view worrying as a positive personality trait. e.g. others will trust me more, since they know I will be careful
  • Worrying helps motivate people e.g. If I am worried about the outcome I will try harder

Circular thoughts

In general, thinking about your struggles with conception isn't necessarily a bad thing. When faced with a difficult situation, it is important to understand the situation and weigh your options carefully. This is a part of a normal problem solving process. However, with circular thoughts you continuously revisit the same points over and over again. There are several problems with this:

  • Due to the circular nature of the thought process, you are not making real progress towards a solution
  • The time spent ruminating is a lost opportunity to enjoy your life
  • It will keep your bad mood alive for as long as the thoughts continue
  • After spending time ruminating, the problem escalates and you feel defeated and exhausted

In general, a useful life skill is to distinguish between productive problem solving and rumination. Unfortunately, when it comes to conception there are limited things we can DO productively. For example, no amount of planning will make a sperm fertilize an egg. Therefore, in most cases the best thing you can do is ease the pain you are experiencing. One way to do that is to cut down on the amount of time you spend worrying. On the next few pages you will learn some strategies for doing this.