Hey GK Community, how are you? Hangin' in there? Our team has been jam-packed-busy lately, and there's only so much coffee we can drink! With this bustle - comes Burnout: headaches, irritability, lower productivity, and difficulty sleeping (to name a few). Not to mention the news-stoked anxiety we're all feeling. Even though we work in a dreamy white shop with soothing aromas and pacifying music, we find ourselves searching for small moments in our day to Power Down. So we reached out to local health and wellness expert (and meditation aficionado) Dr. Trish for advice. We have some great tips to share, including her beautiful (and complimentary!), guided meditations you can download directly to your phone and take anywhere with you. So find a peaceful place to tuck in and treat yourself to a few minutes of calm.
Good Q! Meditation is an accessible, free practice proven to improve mental and emotional health. You can do it anywhere, it doesn't take long, and you don't need equipment. You've likely heard many testimonials about its life-altering abilities, but here's something you might not have heard. Meditation can improve the health and clarity of your skin. Here's what we dug up in our research.
6 Evidence-Based Benefits of Regular Meditation
1. The Mind-Skin Connection
Our skin is a fantastic communicator. Ever notice an adult acne flair-up around a work deadline? An increase in fine lines and dark under-eye circles when you're not sleeping well? A sallow, gaunt look to the skin when going through a difficult time? These are not just signs of ageing; stress and anxiety can have long-term effects on skin, hair and nails. Tension often manifests itself on our skin in the form of acne, dark undereye circles, fine lines, psoriasis or eczema. Psychological stress is a potent trigger of inflammation. An emerging field of dermatology looks at the correlation between our mental health and skin health. Psychodermatology studies have shown that depression, anxiety, stress, and other psychological issues can affect outward appearance. Not only that - the skin is the most noticeable part of our body to be impacted by stressors. It's a well worn vicious circle - having a skin problem can prompt intense distress - distress can exacerbate the skin problems.
Good news! Along with a proper skincare routine, meditation can improve skin problems by improving mental health. Regular meditation leads to an overall feeling of well-being. This translates on the skin as any good confidence boost will - radiating from the inside out. Decreasing your stress levels, or managing them with help from regular meditation, may be the secret ingredient to healthy, glowy skin.
2. Stress Management
It's not unusual for meditation to be prescribed to those experiencing high-stress levels, and for a good reason. Stress in the body causes an increase in cortisol, the stress hormone that helps you cope with heightened situations by triggering your fight or flight response. Of course, we need access to that response when faced with a threat, either of physical danger or as we head into a high-stakes environment like a job interview. The fight or flight response exhibits shallow breathing, trembling, increased heart rate, or all-over body tension. The problem arises when we operate in this response for long periods of time, resulting in chronic stress. When the body is in a constant state of wariness, the relaxation response doesn't always have time to switch on between perceived stressors. Enter: Meditation! Studies have shown that adding meditation to your routine can significantly lower your stress response.
Meditation can wipe away the day's stress, bringing with it inner peace. If stress has you anxious,
tense and worried, consider trying meditation. Spending even a few minutes in meditation
restores your calm and inner peace…
3. Sleep Quality
Another surefire way to improve your skin is to get those ZZZs! A good deal of us will struggle with insomnia at some point in our lives. If you are experiencing too much of the aforementioned fight or flight response, your system is producing an overabundance of cortisol. Too much cortisol can seriously disrupt your sleep, which in turn promotes anxiety. How can you break this cycle?Consider incorporating meditation into your evening routine. A study showed meditation helped those struggling with sleeplessness to fall asleep and stay asleep longer, compared to those who did not meditate.
Our guided meditations offered below promote present-moment awareness and relaxation. These sensations help us wind down at the end of the day, shorten the length of time it takes to fall asleep and improve the quality of our rest. Our body goes into recovery mode as we enter deep sleep, producing growth hormones that create new cells. These cells help heal our skin from any damage done during the day.
4. Self-Compassion and Kindness Towards Others
The world needs more love right now; the ever-present feeling of uncertainty is heavy. We are firm believers in allowing ourselves to take a digital detox when feeling overwhelmed. In doing so, we try to replace that time spent social-scrolling with a good meditation practice to help improve our outlook on the future. There is one meditation in particular that can help with this effect. Metta. Metta is a Buddhist meditation that focuses on positive energy and kindness towards others. It begins using the self as the subject, then extends to people we know, and finally, the global community as a whole. One of our favourite outcomes from regular Metta meditation is increasing positivity, empathy, and compassion towards ourselves and others. A ripple effect we can all get behind.
Incorporating any new lifestyle habit takes time and a certain 'rewiring' of the brain. Meditation demands a focus akin to strength training for your attention span. As the human brain ages, attention, memory, and mood can degrade. Meditation has proven to regulate these attributes, even in non-experienced meditators. One study found that people who practiced meditation had improved attention and accuracy while completing a task. This is because meditation tends to quiet the mind and suppress unnecessary brain activity - allowing you to focus on one thing at a time.
Meditation doesn't require any equipment - although my recent Tibetan singing bowl purchase felt necessary at the time. You can practice it almost anywhere (not while driving, please), and you only need a few minutes a day. While you may choose to attend special meditation centers or group classes led by trained instructors, you can also practice meditation easily on your own. Best of all, it's free! No subscription-membership-monthly-payment-plan needed. To save you from going down a Google rabbit hole, we are thrilled to share Dr. Trish's guided meditations with you. Take a deep breath.
Try one. Try them all!
There are many ways to meditate, including physical movement like Qigong, tai chi, or yoga. Here are the most common forms of meditation:
- 🧘🏻♀️ Guided Meditation - meditation led by a teacher. Having an expert lead you through the basic steps is helpful if you're just starting (thanks, Dr. Trish!)
- 🧘🏻♀️ Mantra Meditation - repeating a word or phrase as a tool to help release your mind. This technique is helpful if your mind tends to wander. Transcendental meditation is one of the most widely practiced meditation techniques involving the repetition of a personalized mantra for 15–20 minutes a day.
- 🧘🏻♀️ Mindfulness meditation - the practice of being present in the moment, done by acknowledging and accepting your thoughts without judgment. This mental training is typically done through breathwork and trains the mind to slow down racing thoughts and let go of negativity.
Are We Convinced?
Yes! Meditation is an essential part of our self-care toolkit. It's a powerhouse stress reliever. It has proven to work well for calming the body and mind and helps us to build resilience over time. It manages stress, making us less susceptible to illness. Meditation quiets and strengthens the brain, allowing it to function at a higher capacity, leading to a longer life. Among its many benefits, regular meditation can improve the health and appearance of your skin, helping you glow from within. And, possibly the best side-effect, we become more mindful and compassionate with regular meditation.
If you're looking for other ways to incorporate calm into your daily ritual, reach us here with your questions or drop your thoughts in the comment box below.