Last Sunday, I signed up to a birthing class, because (drum rollll pleasssse) in two months – we are expecting our first child. Yup! I’m super excited but also feel super unprepared. So, it seemed like a good idea to sign up to an introductory class.
While I won’t get into all the breathing we did, there is one exercise that stood out in particular that I wanted to share.
It was on how to deal with pain or an uncomfortable situation. We were given a bowl of ice cubes and instructed to hold them in our hands for one minute while closing our eyes.
“Giving birth is about adopting the right mindset”, the instructor said.
She then walked us through a breathing exercise that helped us relax the body and shifted our focus away from the ice-cubes. The minute still felt long and uncomfortable, but it wasn’t unbearable.
We were then asked to repeat this exercise, but this time we had to visualize being on a tropical beach sipping our favorite cocktail. The minute seemed to go faster than the previous session.
To demonstrate that you can influence your experience with your mind, she repeated the exercise but instead of positive thoughts had us focus on the cold, the slowness of time and how uncomfortable this exercise was. As you can probably guess, time seemed to go much slower this way.
On face value, the ice cube exercise seems simplistic but the idea that your mindset can influence your reality is also applicable to everyday life.
Two people, for instance, could be going through the same exercise but end up with a different experience, depending on their mindset. What this means is that we always have the power to decide the meaning we want to give to something.
More often than not, there will be uncomfortable situations that arise that are out of our control. I for instance, would much rather outsource the labor process :-). And while it remains to be seen whether I can actually apply the ice cube exercise, I at least know that I can play an active participant in how my reality is shaped.