How mindfulness can help you and your cycle.
Whether it be that you miss a day from work because of cramps or you’ve gone through two pairs of knickers before 10 am, menstruation is stressful, period.
That is why today we wanted to chat a little about mindfulness and how it can help YOU and your cycle.
Mindfulness is designed to be all about you. The inner you. It can be a powerful part of your cycle toolkit, alongside the usual hygiene kit and Khapregesic of course!
Firstly, let’s quickly define what mindfulness is. Here is a quick quote from Headspace 👇
Mindfulness is the idea of learning how to be fully present and engaged in the moment, aware of your thoughts and feelings without distraction or judgment.
To elaborate, it is when you practice being present and aware in a moment, whilst trying not to unpack your thoughts and feelings you might be having.
According to Positive Psychology, some of the benefits of mindfulness include 👇
🌱 Lower Levels of Anxiety
🌱 Reduced Stress
🌱 Managing Physical Pain
As women, we’re fully aware that those benefits tie well into owning our cycle! Two symptoms of PMS are anxiety and pain management, therefore, this strategy might help a sister out during her period.
So, what does mindfulness meditation involve?
First up, it is not as easy as one might think. The practise of mindfulness is stretching out these moments of present-focused awareness, we achieve this by training our minds (which sometimes, can be tough.)
A recent study from Psychologists at Queen’s University reports the movement from one thought to another in brain scans. Though the researchers didn’t distinguish the content of our thoughts, their process allowed them to count each one.
Referred to as “thought worms,” the team says that the average human has 6,200 thoughts per day. Therefore, training your mind to focus on the present, can be hard when you have so many thoughts running through your mind.
To kick start your mindfulness practice, here’s 3 tips to help make it easier 👇
Tip 1 – Body Scan – Observe inside YOU
A big component of stress and anxiety is linked to not only emotional but physical symptoms. Some of these can include body aches, headaches, and period pain. Sometimes we are so caught up in feeling our emotions we don’t associate our stress with physical pain. That is why a simple body scan is an ideal form of mindfulness you can practice throughout the day.
A body scan involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing, and then shifting your mind to acknowledge how your body is feeling in that present moment. You start from the top of your head and work your way down, scanning throughout your whole body. The key to this technique is to simply observe how your body feels without trying to change the feeling. This will help calm your mind and alleviate some of the stress you are feeling both emotionally and physically.
Tip 2 – A blade of Grass – See outside YOU
This simple mindfulness exercise is when you take the time to stop and observe a single element in environment around you. The beauty of this technique is you can practice it anywhere. It can be quite powerful because it helps you notice and appreciate what is physically around you – taking you outside of your own reality.
To practice this exercise, choose an object to focus on within your immediate environment for a minute or two. This could be the rain on your window, a cloud, or your indoor plant. If it’s a nice day, get out to a quiet park and find a single blade of grass to focus on.
Do not focus on anything else but that object, relax into the moment and watch it for as long as your concentration allows you to.
Tip 3 – Music – Hear outside You
Mindful listening is the art of being present with what you can hear. Of course, you also must ingest whatever you are hearing without judgement. This is to train your mind to not let your perception and lived experiences judge what you’re hearing in any present moment.
To start this new concept put on some music and close your eyes. Then get lost in the journey of the song acknowledging the lyrics, sounds and tones. Put it on repeat finding new sounds to focus on each time.
Remember! The purpose of this mindfulness is not to sit and enjoy the song, but to give your awareness fully to the music.
We hope this article helps you understand how mindfulness may help you and your cycle. So, for those who are suffering from PMS anxiety, stress, or severe pain then perhaps this is a solution. You will be Sjana, the yogi from Instagram in no time 🌸🌸🌸
Bigthink.com – how many thoughts per day
Headspace.com – meditation body scan
Mindful.org – mindfulness getting started
Pain Health at UWA – mindfulness and pain
pocketmindfulness.com – mindfulness exercises to try
Be sure to talk to your healthcare professional if your anxiety symptoms are severe or last more than two weeks.
If you or someone you know are experiencing severe pain in the abdominal region or severe anxiety or panic attacks for any reason, please see your GP or a healthcare professional without delay.