How Meditation Can Help You Get A Healthy Happy Glow
As a kid I was always a worrier and I believe it’s probably one of the (probably many) reasons I developed IBS and eventually IBD problems. I didn’t realise it at the time but looking back I can clearly see that I totally internalised stress and worries which would result in awful stomach problems (spasms, bloating, food sensitivities, constipation, vomiting etc).
Things didn’t get better as I got older. Whether it was grieving the death of my Mum, worrying about exams, stressing over relationships, the constant chatter from my mind – stress, worry and the noise from my internal judge were a big part of my life in my teens and 20s and it took its toll on my body and wellbeing. My Dad used to do TM meditation every day and would always encourage me to start a meditation practice. I tried it sporadically down through the years but I got bored very easily and it just never stuck.
But when a friend of mine suggested we do an 8-week course of Mindfulness Meditation a few years ago something inside me said to give it a go. It was definitely a tough course (practicing a 45 minute meditation both morning and night time, with homework and reading) but it was really worth it. I learnt that meditation doesn’t mean clearing the mind, having no thoughts, saying a mantra over and over or breathing a particular way. Meditation is a lot kinder and softer and can be done throughout the day as you can bring mindfulness to sitting, walking, eating etc. It’s about being present and being aware of where you are at in the moment.
As much as I would love to say that I practice two 45 minute sessions daily now, I’m afraid I don’t. But I do 10-20 minutes of a seated practice every morning and try to bring moments of mindfulness to my daily routine. I feel it’s key at managing my stress levels and a vital component of the lifestyle elements of managing my Crohn’s disease.
Stress is an epidemic these days and everybody could benefit from some meditation. Here’s how meditation can help you achieve a healthy, happy, glow:
It has been shown to boost your immune system
It can reduce inflammation and feelings of physical pain in the body
Studies have shown meditation can improve your memory and can increase your attention span and focus
Studies indicate that meditation can increase your capacity for positivity and happiness and reduce negativity and depression by increasing your levels of feel-good hormones such as endorphins and serotonin.
It can reduce levels of anxiety and panic and can help you stay calm and centred during stressful times which in turn can increase quality of life and self-compassion.
It can actually make you a kinder, more compassionate person to others.
Even though it is something you do by yourself, it can potentially decrease feelings of loneliness and increase feelings of social connection.
It can have a very beneficial effect on sleep. Not only can it help you let go of chatter that may be preventing you from drifting off at night, it’ll also help you have a deeper more restorative sleep. Which means you’ll wake up feeling more refreshed and energised which is always a good look!
So as you can see a few minutes of meditation a day can have huge benefits to your health, happiness and overall wellbeing.
So how do you get started with a practice? Build it into your daily routine. Get up 10-20 minutes earlier and start your day off on a calm note. I find guided meditations really useful. There are loads of free videos on YouTube and apps so there’s plenty of choice. My two favourite apps are the free Mindfulness app which has a great selection of shorter (3 minutes) and longer guided mindfulness meditations, and then the Headspace app. This app has a free guided ten minutes for ten days challenge with videos to explain meditation. You can then subscribe to the app for a whole host of meditations for better sleep, stress etc. I’ve subscribed for the last two years and haven’t done the same meditation twice.
I’d love to know if you meditate and what type of meditation you do? Do you find it helpful?