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Positive Psychology

Can Positive, "Lucky Girl" Thinking Bring Real Benefits?

Embracing hope during your fertility journey.

Source: dimaberlinphotos/Canva

The idea that we can influence the outcomes we want through positive thoughts and feelings gives many going through fertility treatment, or other challenges, great hope. The idea is not new. Similar concepts have been called the power of positive thinking, visualization, intention setting, and, most recently, Lucky Girl Syndrome.

It sounds simple: Assure yourself that good things will happen to you and, many say, they more likely will – if you believe with enough conviction. Is it real? If the question is whether we can really control or change our data-based fertility outcomes through positive thinking or "manifesting" alone, the answer is probably no. So far, no controlled studies have yet demonstrated that hopes and dreams can directly affect fertility treatment outcomes1.

But if you are asking if such thinking can potentially ease your fertility treatment journey, the answer is probably yes. Many studies2,3 find that an optimistic mindset can influence our mood, patience, interpretations, reactions, and choices – all of which can then influence how we see and handle our treatment experiences.

Here are three ways to understand the effects of some of these principles and use them.

  1. Change the connection and meaning of positive thoughts. Start by seeing positive thinking as a way of turning down the worrying, watching, and waiting during fertility treatment. Negativity and anxiety make the journey more difficult by upping your adrenaline and depriving you of sleep, patience, humor, and the energy to move forward. Besides, expecting the worst never really saves us from disappointment and anticipating the best never jinxes our journey, so we might as well anticipate success.
  2. Remind yourself that you choose your thoughts. Since our thoughts influence our feelings as much as our feelings influence our thoughts, remind yourself that you can choose your thoughts and choose them wisely. Choose affirmations, gratitude, and intentions, not fear or despair. Choose to live in the present and now, rather than worrying about the future or reliving the past.
  3. Surround yourself with the right support. Lastly, be mindful of those around you and choose your support group carefully. If they are negative, giving unsolicited advice, or using your infertility experience as an opening to talk about their own problems, save your time and energy for yourself. That’s not selfish, that’s self-protective.

But what if, despite using mantras like “IVF will be successful for me” or “This will eventually work out for me,” things are still not going the way you hoped they would? Do you start blaming yourself for not having believed with enough conviction? No. That is adding insult to injury. Do you blame the universe for not responding to your energy? No. That is even more upsetting because the universe is beyond our control and understanding.

Here are four things to try:

  1. Self-talk. Use self-talk to focus on your personal growth during this journey, no matter the outcome. Review all the ways you have coped and cared for yourself. Support yourself as you would your loved ones—in fact, be one of your own loved ones.
  2. Visualization. Use visualization to stay focused on the purpose of treatment so you can keep moving forward, even when the journey gets difficult. Picture yourself with the family you want to create and remind yourself that if you want to be a parent, there are many paths: IUI, IVF, ovum donation, sperm donation, gestational surrogacy, or adoption.
  3. Celebrate the small things. Use small successes to help you overcome the fear of failure. Each small success gives you and your doctor more information to use for your treatment. So does each setback. Make sure to ask about the new information your doctor is collecting. This is not a passive process, and you are the primary participant.
  4. Use a mantra to challenge negative thoughts. Since pessimism is often based on misinformation or unknowable variables, combat negative thoughts with a word or phrase, like “maybe not” or “we’ll see” and dismiss it. I put frightening unknowns in a mental box labeled “later.” Many of my patients use the mantra “whatever” and switch their thoughts from the unknown future to the immediate here and now. Mantras are not meant to replace science-based medicine and medical assessment, but they can increase your sense of control, clarify your goals, and can be powerful additions to your emotional arsenal during your fertility journey.

So, whether you believe that you are attracting success by manifesting, creating self-fulfilling prophesies by using positive thinking, or changing your mindset by behaving like a “lucky girl,” you are likely to be moving forward on your fertility journey with more optimism if you practice positive thinking.


(1)Psychology Today, September 15, 2020 | Tchiki Davis, Ph.D What Is Manifestation ).

(2)Fredrickson, B. L. (2013). Positive emotions broaden and build. In P.Devine & A. Plant (Eds.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 47, pp. 1–54). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

(3)Dweck, C. S. (2012). Mindset: How You Can Fulfill Your Potential. Constable & Robinson Limited.[39]

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