What if I told you there was a way to help heal your hormone imbalances that costs nothing, takes only 5-10 minutes a day, has no side effects and offers numerous other health benefits as well? Sound too good to be true? For once, it’s actually not! Meditation is free, takes hardly any time and can be a hugely helpful tool for coping with stress and balancing your hormones. If you’re curious to learn more about this simple practice, read on to learn why meditation is helpful, what it actually is, and how to try it out yourself.
Why Should I Try Meditation?
Stress is one of the biggest factors to consider when looking at your hormone health. When you feel stressed, your body secretes the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is one of two top tier hormones in your body; these two hormones (cortisol and insulin) affect every other hormone in your body. When your cortisol level remains high for long periods of time as they do with chronic stress, your body is not able to make other hormones as well, things get out of balance, and your entire endocrine system can get out of whack.
Meditation helps your body cope with stress which in turn lowers your cortisol levels and allows your endocrine system to regain some balance. When you practice meditation, you engage the parasympathetic nervous system which gives your body a feeling of calm and relaxation and immediately relieves stress and anxiety. On top of this, meditation can actually help reverse some of the damage that stress causes to your brain. If that all wasn’t enough, it can also help you cope with pain and depression, increase your creativity and cognitive function, reduce inflammation and strengthen your immune system. Can you see why I’m telling you to try meditation?
What is Meditation?
Meditation is really a way to train your mind to focus and be quiet. Instead of letting your mind frantically follow every thought that comes up, meditation is a way to practice focusing your mind on a sensation, breath or mantra, and to experiment with noticing thoughts without following them. It’s about learning to become aware of your thoughts and feelings, and eventually, to understand them better. It’s also about learning mindfulness, or being present in the moment. Meditation also provides a way to connect with your true self and to follow your thoughts to what you truly want. It can help you discover your true feelings and beliefs and give you a path to new, creative ideas.
It’s important to note that meditation is a practice. It’s not so much about experiencing a perfectly calm mind as it is about practicing refocusing your mind when it gets distracted. Don’t expect perfection from yourself and know that there is no right or wrong way to do it! Just as if you were exercising a muscle you hadn’t used in a long time, it will take time to build strength in your focus.
How Do I Meditate?
Meditation is not rocket science! The simplest way to get started with meditation is to find a quiet place to sit and lengthen up through your spine. Let your hands rest comfortably in your lap or on your knees. Bring your attention to your breath. Try to breathe into your belly instead of your chest; placing your hand on your belly may help with this at first. Begin to lengthen your inhale and exhale and see if you can make both the same length. When thoughts come into your mind, notice them and then bring your attention back to your breath. You can start with sitting for even a minute or two and work up from there. Note that meditation is more effective when done daily, so it would be better to do five minutes every day than 20 minutes a couple times a week.
Another simple meditation is called a body scan. Begin sitting tall or lying on your back and deepen your breath. I love to do this meditation in bed, either first thing in the morning or at night to help me fall asleep. Start with your feet and notice any sensation you feel (tingling, pulsing, warmth, cold, pain, etc.). Slowly move up to your legs, pelvis, back, chest, arms, hands, shoulders, neck, face and head, relaxing each part of your body as you go.
There are so many other ways to meditate! You can try an app for a guided meditation. Two of my favorites are Calm and Headspace. Though traditionally meditation is a seated activity, the practice comes in so many other forms: walking, yoga or tai chi, viewing art, listening to music, chanting, prayer, and enjoying nature. The possibilities are endless!
It’s Your Turn
Stress can wreak havoc on your endocrine system but coping with it in a healthy way can be simpler than you might think. Meditation offers multiple health benefits, including helping you cope with and heal from the stress in your life. Now that you know what meditation is all about and some simple ways to try it, it’s time to get started on your own meditation journey!
If you liked this post, make sure to check out this post to learn breathing exercises to use while you meditate.