How Meditation and Mindfulness Can Improve Skin Health
It's time to kick your beauty routine up a notch. Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it's essential to take care of it, inside and out. It protects you from all sorts of nasties, but it's also a significant contributor to how you feel about yourself. How we take care of our skin has changed over time, and now more than ever, people are looking for ways to improve their appearance with natural remedies like meditation.
Meditation helps reduce stress levels, which reduces inflammation which can cause acne breakouts and flare-ups of rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema. Meditators who have psoriasis experienced reduced symptoms when they practiced mindfulness.
First, let’s talk about stress and how it affects the body?
Stress can present itself emotionally, psychologically, financially, and physically. When the nervous system becomes stressed, it releases adrenaline and cortisol, signalling to the body to prepare for an emergency. As a result, you may feel body responses such as increased heart rate, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest and muscles, and you may feel hyper-aware of your surroundings.
Chronic stress increases cortisol and suppresses the immune system making it harder to fight off viruses and illness. In addition, an overabundance of cortisol can increase weight gain, skin flare-ups, insomnia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, and more.
When it comes to your skin, the effects of stress can appear as dull, dry and flaky patches, acne and rosacea flare-ups, and eczema and psoriasis. Topical treatments such as creams, medications, and salves can provide relief. However, to heal it, you have to do it from the inside out by finding ways to calm your nervous system.
How does the nervous system work when it comes to stress?
The nervous system is exactly what it sounds like, a system of the nerve cells in your body. It is the command centre of information delivered and processed through our senses and triggering reactions.
The sympathetic nervous system stimulates the fight, flight or freeze response, and the parasympathetic nervous system promotes digestion, respiratory and cardiovascular regulation.
When the sympathetic nervous system is dysregulated by stress or imagined fear, it releases adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream to send signals to the body to prepare and protect. When the nervous system is dysregulated, one might experience indigestion, headaches, insomnia and more.
There are numerous ways to calm the nervous system immediately, such as petting an animal, going for a brisk walk, deep breathing, or physical activity like going to the gym, but promoting long-term wellbeing can come with a more gentle approach.
Om your way to a healthy nervous system and glowing skin with meditation practice.
Meditation is an age-old practice with debatable origins of Taoist China and Buddhist India, dating back to the 1st century. Meditation became of interest in Western culture in the 1700s but didn’t gain traction until the 1990s.
If you’re new to meditation, it can seem like a daunting task to have to sit with yourself in silence. Many people find it challenging to sit still or stop their minds from wandering off, and it can feel like your herding cats trying to wrangle those thoughts and calm the mind. However, mindfulness can be a helpful transition.
You may have heard the term “mindful” before. But what does it really mean to be mindful?
To start with, being mindful means being in the present moment. This is a difficult task for most people because we all have a tendency to dwell on past regrets or anxieties about the future. When you are mindful, you are aware of these thoughts, but instead of letting them consume you, you consciously let them go and focus on what is happening right now.
Mindfulness is when you have focused attention on a particular feeling, thought or action in the present moment. The intention is to cultivate awareness and view it with a non-judgmental and kind attitude. One can practice mindfulness in everyday activities such as walking, eating, writing in a journal, and dancing to music.
How does one practice meditation?
Traditional meditation begins with practice. Like anything else, it gets easier in time and with repetition. Integrating meditation into your daily life can be easier than you think.
Here is how you can begin this new practice with these simple steps:
1. Find a quiet space and take a comfortable position.
2. Set a timer for 5-10 mins to begin with and increase timing in increments
3. Close your eyes and scan your body in your mind. Notice where there are feelings of tension or stuck energy.
4. Feel the breath as you inhale into those tight areas of your body. Then, exhale as you feel the body relax. Find a gentle rhythm to your breath.
5. If your mind begins to wander off, just notice it and bring it back to the breath.
6. Be kind to yourself. Don’t judge if your mind wanders or if your body is fidgety.
7. Close your meditation with gratitude and gently ease your body back into awareness.
You can practice meditation anywhere or at any time. However, can be a great way to begin your day with intention or help to relax in the evening before sleep.
The more time you spend meditating, the more likely your skin will improve its health. Meditation doesn't have to be a difficult or daunting task. There are tons of apps and websites out there with guided sessions for those who need a little extra help getting started.
Meditation can help maintain a positive outlook on life by reducing stress levels, improving sleep, and regulating emotions. It can also help slow down the ageing process.
How do mindfulness and meditation help the ageing process and improve the skin?
When mindfulness and meditation are part of your daily routine, it promotes overall happiness and a positive outlook. Research has also proven that it helps keep your brain younger than if you didn’t meditate. A happy brain is a youthful brain and how you feel about yourself increases the stimulation of feel-good hormones in the body.
Reducing stress is the most effective way to slow down the ageing process, and meditation helps repair tissues and cells by delivering oxygen into your bloodstream. Never before has a balanced mind and body been more beneficial to overall health and radiant skin!
If you want to improve your skin health, get more done in less time, or be happier throughout the day, meditation may be what you are looking for.
Why not give it a try today and OM your way to a healthy body and glowing skin!