Meditation is most commonly known for combatting stress and anxiety. Do you know how much stress can actually impact the skin? Our adrenal glands are in charge of regulating stress, and in times of stress, these glands stimulate our oil glands to secrete more oil. Excess oil is a huge reason for acne flare-ups. Stress also increases blood flow and inflammation, which can lead to increased redness.
Our bodies either have the parasympathetic or sympathetic nervous system switched on. When we are stressed and fatigued, we are in the sympathetic mode. In the sympathetic nervous system, we have trouble digesting our food, our immune system is compromised, and our hormones go out of whack. When we are calm and relaxed, the parasympathetic system is switched on, and we experience the exact opposite reaction of what happens to our bodies when we are stressed.
This is where meditation comes in to help boost overall beauty – because meditation is one of the easiest ways to instantly reduce stress.
Simply by extending your exhale longer than your inhale you can trick your body into thinking you’re relaxed. Count your inhale for 4 counts, and then extend your exhale for 6 or 8 counts. Try to bring the breath down into the belly rather than the chest. It makes it even easier to tell where you’re breathing by placing your hands on your belly to feel each inhale and exhale.
The above method is sort of a quick fix to instantly reduce stress in a moment of anxiety. For longer lasting beauty benefits and stress relief, try this method! Meditate daily and increase the amount of time you meditate each week. There are a few different ways you can do this meditation.
The first technique is to count each inhale and exhale. Inhale, 1, exhale, 2, inhale 3, and so on. Whenever you get distracted, return to the breath and start over with the counting.
The second method is to repeat a mantra over and over in your mind. When you get distracted just return to the breath and begin your mantra again. The easiest mantra to use is “So Hum,” which means “I am.” Finally, you can always repeat an affirmation too. Use your affirmation in the present tense. For example, “I live an abundant life and the Universe provides for me.”
If all of this seems too complicated, you can always lie down and simply bring your awareness up and down your body noticing any areas of tension and breathing into each point. You can sit still and just enjoy the silence and let your thoughts roam for a bit until everything drifts away. Ultimately, it is best to find whatever feels most comfortable to you.
Make sure to sit or lie down in a comfortable place, wear comfortable clothing, and get rid of any distractions that could disrupt your practice. Happy meditating!
Kate Wilke is a 200-RYT yoga instructor, meditation teacher, and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She teaches and works with clients in Nashville, TN. She believes in self-care in the form of colorful, healthy cooking, daily walks with her dog, and a glass of red wine. Follow her on Instagram — @meditatekate