Mediation for Migraine and Headache Relief
Meditation is an ancient practice that focuses on mindfulness rather than thinking. It brings you back into your body and halts the haywire craziness your brain may feel. Meditation can create a deeper state of relaxation and help quiet your mind, which may help reduce the onset of migraines since stress is a common migraine trigger.
When you meditate, you focus your attention on your inner self and quiet the thoughts that can create an overwhelming amount of stress. Studies have shown that meditation helps people who suffer from migraines increase their dopamine, melatonin, and serotonin levels and decrease their cortisol levels, all which help with migraines.
How to Meditate
Meditation is easier than most people think. You don’t need any fancy equipment or special abilities. You can do it morning, day, or night, whenever fits best with your schedule.
Here’s how to start.
- Find a place that’s just for you. It should be free from clutter and distractions. Create a place that tells your mind and body it’s time to relax.
- Sit in a comfortable position you can retain for a few minutes. You want to be comfortable and grounded. If you sit on a chair, make sure your feet can firmly touch the ground. If you sit on the ground, find a spot you can sit cross-legged.
- Close your eyes and slowly breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Put all focus only on the breath. Let your body and mind relax.
- If you notice your mind wandering back to your thoughts, don’t judge yourself. Instead, slowly guide your mind back to your breath. At first, you may have to do this every few seconds, but with regular practice, it gets easier.
- After a few minutes (you can lengthen the time as you get more comfortable), slowly open your eyes. Let your mind and body adjust. Focus on how you feel inside and give yourself time to get reacclimated to your surroundings.
How Often to Meditate
There’s no right or wrong amount of time to meditate, but the more you do it, the less stress you’ll feel in your body.
When you start, commit to five minutes at a time once a day. Meditating daily gets your body and mind into the habit and increases your chances of preventing migraines. The key is giving yourself the gift of time – the time to care for yourself.
When you sit down to meditate, you tell your body it’s worth it and that you want to do whatever it takes to feel better. As you get used to meditating, you’ll find that it won’t become such an effort and that you’ll want to take the time to do it.
Other Types of Meditation
If focusing on your breath doesn’t feel calming to you or you can’t stay focused, try one of these methods.
Body Scan Meditation
The body scan meditation allows your mind to focus on how each part of your body feels. This gives your mind more ‘activity’ without allowing pesky thoughts to stress you out. It’s still a break from the day-to-day stress but in a more active way.
With the body scan meditation, you sit in the same position, making sure you are grounded and can feel every part of your body. Keeping your back straight and your eyes closed, slowly breathe.
Start at the top of your head and think about how every hair on your head feels, how your temples feel, and work your way down to your nose, ears, mouth, chin, and neck. Work as slowly as you can focusing on each body part, acknowledging how it feels, but never judging.
Just like with traditional meditation, if your mind wanders, gently guide it back to the last body part you can remember scanning. Do this until you’ve worked your way down to your toes. When complete, slowly open your eyes and revel in the relaxed state you’ve created.
If sitting still stresses you out, try the walking meditation. You’ll keep your eyes open for this method, but you can love your body, while still practicing meditation.
Make sure you have at least a small space to walk back and forth. You can place your hands anywhere they feel comfortable, including resting them on your body for more awareness. Once you’re ready, slowly walk counting each step up to 10. Once you reach 10, start your count again.
The counting keeps your mind busy while you focus on every step, every movement, and how your body feels. If your mind wanders, bring it back to the movement in your feet, the slow breaths, and the way your body feels as you unwind and let your breath and feet take control.
How to Make Meditation a Regular Part of your Practice
It’s hard to find time for yourself – we all live busy lives, but as a migraine sufferer, it’s vital. Stress may not be your own trigger, but if it even mildly affects your migraines, it can exacerbate migraines you experience for any other reason.
Here are a few ways to make it part of your routine:
- Set a specific time each day, such as upon waking or before going to bed
- Keep reminders around your most frequented areas (bathroom mirror, kitchen counter)
- Create a space that’s only for your meditation
- Don’t judge yourself if you forget a day or two
Meditation may Help Alleviate your Migraine Pain
Meditation along with Aculief can be a great way to reduce your migraine attacks or decrease the pain you suffer.
The key is to take care of yourself. We are all so used to putting everyone else’s needs before our own, but you can’t pour from an empty cup and you certainly can’t function 100% when you have a migraine.
Give yourself the gift of taking care of yourself, and watch how other parts of your life fall into place with this simple habit.
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