Beauty Benefits of Meditation

June 24, 2015

I am excited to bring you this extremely interesting guest post from Holly Ashby...

The Beauty Benefits of Meditation

From its spiritual beginnings to its more modern association with stress relief and calm, meditation has long been considered something that concerns people’s inner lives. However, the benefits of meditation don’t begin and end just below the skin. The reprieve it brings to stress can result in a direct improvement to your appearance as well as your state of mind, which is definitely an added bonus! 

It’s hard not to lead a life that stresses you out in the modern world, and I’ve found that when I’m particularly frazzled that I use make up in a way that’s more akin to the phrase “shovelled on” than "applied". However it makes more sense to target stress directly (especially when you are aiming to find natural beauty remedies) and meditation is one way to do this. With the pressures of life having an effect on many aspects of appearance, here’s a few things that meditation can help with. 


IBS and Bloating

This is something that goes beyond a purely superficial issue as bloating can be uncomfortable and distracting, and no one ever welcomes their stomach doing its best watermelon impression. I’ve often wondered at my stomach’s ability to bloat out so drastically from its normal size, and for some unfair reason it always seems to happen when I’ve put on a new outfit and I’m heading out. 

Evolutionarily, stress is a response to a potentially life threatening occurrences, but this hard-wired reaction is unable to distinguish between a truly dangerous situation and a simply unfortunate one. Our bodies ready themselves for flight or flight when we become stressed, redirecting all our energy and resources into immediate survival. 

This is obviously very useful when you are facing a life-or-death challenge, but now our stress response is triggered habitually through everyday pressures such as being late for work or looming deadlines, and our bodies are given little time to recover. As digestion is unessential in flight or fight mode it’s one of the areas that is starved of energy when you are stressed out, which means IBS and bloating can get worse. Meditation can resolve this stress by providing a rest that is even deeper than sleep, allowing the body to rebalance itself and perform as it should. 

Skin

A build-up of the stress hormone cortisol is somewhere up there with baby oil drenched sun bathing and chain smoking as far as damage to your skin goes. Cortisol breaks down collagen, which is the thing that keeps skin from falling in on itself, and in in high levels it can also trigger a partial shut- down of your immune system. With compromised health and lack of sleep it can leave you looking and feeling washed out, and even contribute to premature aging. 

Stress also channels blood away from your skin and into your muscles and organs (the essential survival bits) leading to your skin receiving less oxygen and nutrients, something that can worsen acne and flare ups. With meditation, the hormone cortisol in our systems can be reduced by up to a third, lessening its potential to cause harm. It also calms down the emotional centres in your brain so they no longer react so drastically to the small issues that crop up and leave you feeling flustered, decreasing the physical effects of stress. 
original source
Healthy Lifestyle

Meditation can be a great cornerstone for a generally healthy lifestyle, because as you become calmer and happier it’s easier to make the choices that are good for you. If you try to pursue a healthier lifestyle from a place of stress and discontent you are more likely to take up destructive diets and punishing exercise regimes that may mean you lose weight or get fitter, but aren’t sustainable or conducive to further happiness. 

Using meditation to cultivate a calmer and more positive outlook can make becoming healthier something that comes naturally, rather than a stick to beat yourself with. Furthermore, just being happy in itself is always bound to improve your impression on others, as contentment has the lovely habit of leaving you glowing. 

Getting Started 

If you are just starting out, aim for 5 minutes of meditation just after you wake up and in the evening. Breathing exercises are one of the simplest ways to get going, so find a quiet and comfortable spot and inhale deeply, filling your chest (but without strain). Then slowly exhale, focusing on the release of tension. Try to concentrate on your breathing, and acknowledge but dismiss the other thoughts that come to your mind. 

Trying to turn down the volume of the buzzing thoughts we have can be difficult, so don’t be discouraged or frustrated if you get distracted. Meditation like most things takes practice and everyone gets better at their own pace. You can increase the time you meditate every day once you feel like it’s getting easier, and when you want to move on to other techniques there are a world of resources just a Google search away. With benefits on the inside and out, it’s definitely worth taking up. 

Holly Ashby is a writer and illustrator who currently works for Will Williams Meditation in London, a meditation centre that provides courses on Vedic meditation with the aim of improving people’s health and happiness.

Information: 
This post does not include any products sent for consideration.
The links are not affiliated.
This wonderful post was written by Holly Ashby, not myself. 

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