Part One: I Meditated Every Day For 30 Days And Here's What Happened
I’m full of ideas. My husband can totally vouch for me. I have many helpful hints when it comes to ways to fold laundry, stack groceries, or the placement of throw pillows. I enjoy sharing this information with my husband while he’s folding laundry, putting away the food, or throwing the throw pillows at me for sharing my (too) many helpful hints. Maybe my husband doesn't always need my advice, but that doesn’t stop me from offering it. I’ve found this same holds true with migraines.
Chronic migraine and meditation
I’ve been given tons of advice from friends, family, and strangers at the doctor's office on how to deal with my chronic migraines. When a new idea is presented, I listen and decide if it might work. When my migraines became chronic, I finally tried a piece of advice I’d been given for years, “Have you ever meditated?” I was already familiar with meditation from my yoga practice so I thought I’d delve deeper.
Meditating to reduce stress and migraine frequency
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Anyone can practice meditation. It's simple and inexpensive, and it doesn't require any special equipment.”1 This was a good start and after researching further I discovered meditation could be used to manage stress which could possibly decrease my migraines. If stress wasn’t an immediate trigger then meditation can be used for pain management. All of this indicated that starting a mediation practice was worth trying. My plan was to work up to thirty-minutes and commit to it every day for a 30-day period. That way I’d really know if it made a dent in the frequency of my brain boiling disorder.
Different types of meditation
I read articles and asked my yoga teachers about different types of meditation. I learned there were many types I could try. Heathline.com listed different ones like walking, breathing, or I could even get my iPhone savvy 3-year-old to help me download a meditation app. Since I was most familiar with focusing on my breath after yoga classes, I went with the familiar—until it felt unfamiliar.
Falling asleep while meditating
All I really knew was that I was supposed to sit quietly, focus on my breathing, and clear my mind. I thought it would be easy. It turns out it was easy—for me to fall asleep. As the mother of a 3-year-old, anytime I sat still for over 39-seconds I boarded a train to Sleepy Town. So when I left "mediation time" I didn’t feel relaxed--I felt groggy and frustrated that I hadn't been able to stay awake. I was annoyed that I couldn’t get my meditation on.
Finding my meditation groove
Since the whole point of my meditation was to create a state of relaxedmindfulness, I started listening to guided meditations where professional instructors talked me through with visualizations. This kept my brain engaged instead of boarding that comfy train to Sleepy Town. I found meditations that resonated with me. (The website Glo was a great help.) I felt a relaxed shift in my body, but I still wasn't sure it would be enough to shift my migraines.
Can you tell when a migraine attack is coming?