5 ways to stress less during pregnancy

5 ways to stress less during pregnancy

Surround yourself with positive friends and relations

How do you know if your friends are good for you? "Pay attention to how you feel about yourself when you're around them," says Adrianne Ahern, a psychologist in San Diego, California, and author of Snap Out of It Now! Four Steps to Inner Joy. If you feel good about yourself when you're around someone, that person is bringing joy to your life.

Unfortunately, most of us have some negative people in our lives. If a friend or relative makes you feel bad, try to avoid that person during your pregnancy. "It's not about blaming the person – it's about taking care of yourself," says Ahern. Later you can decide if it's worth continuing the friendship or confronting the person about your feelings.

Shoring up your support system now will yield benefits later too: You'll appreciate their encouragement and help when you make the transition to life with a newborn.

Take time out

When you feel yourself getting upset, take a short break. A few minutes of meditating, reading a magazine, talking with a friend, or going for a walk may be just what you need. Indulge in a prenatal massage to soothe your sore spots and help you relax.

Prepare for unwanted attention

Does it drive you crazy when people touch your belly or comment on your size? Rather than getting upset when someone makes an insensitive comment, check out our ideas for clever comebacks, and keep a few in mind for when you need them.

Blow off steam

Any type of physically demanding activity alleviates tension and releases feel-good endorphins. Exercise helps you have a healthy pregnancy and can improve your emotional well-being. Try walking, swimming, or prenatal yoga – anything that gets you moving.

If your healthcare provider has advised you not to exercise, try putting on music and belting out some of your favorite songs. Or write in a journal, where you're free to express all your feelings.

Take a deep breath

If you feel yourself tensing up, you're probably holding your breath. Most people breathe shallowly, from the chest only, when they're in pain or in stress. A rapid heart rate, stomach knots, and muscle tension are your body's way of telling you something is wrong.

Deep breathing can help, so try this instead: As you inhale, expand your belly. On the exhale, let your belly relax and release all your tension. "Focusing on your breath can help you take charge of your thoughts and emotions," says Ahern. "Then you'll be better equipped to handle irritating situations more creatively and effectively."

If you're interested in a structured approach, check out classes, books, articles, or videos on mindfulness, which is the practice of learning to focus your attention on the present moment with an attitude of curiosity, openness, and acceptance.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a method of stress reduction that has become increasingly popular in many different settings. Though it's rooted in Buddhist spiritual practices, MBSR is a secular practice, with clinically proven, standardized techniques. Your healthcare provider or local hospital may offer an MBSR program.

Learn more:

Watch the video: Pregnancy 101: De-stress over prenatal stress (January 2022).

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