From coast to coast, people across the nation are excited to embark on their New Year’s resolutions. If you are one of the many migraineurs who included mindfulness on the 2015 resolution list to help manage stress and migraines in Houston, San Francisco or Duluth, then by all means don’t delay and get flowing. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) training could be the ideal drug free migraine therapy that transforms you into a serene new “You!”
A study published during 2014 in the journal Headache found that an MBSR program could mitigate migraine symptoms free of drugs. It can also be safely practiced while taking migraine medication or undergoing other migraine treatment. The subjects of the study were directed to perform activities like eating, walking, meditating and yoga, with mindfulness (awareness.) The concept is that practitioners perform regular daily activities in a slower and more contemplative way, leading to reduced stress and improved reactions to stressful situations.
According to Wikipedia, MBSR was developed in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center to help people manage pain and other challenges outside the medical environment. The structured program is 8 weeks long, involves workshops given by certified instructors, and focuses on yoga poses, mindfulness meditation and body awareness (lying flat while gradually focusing on individual parts of your body.) The creator of this program described the experience as “moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness.” The roots of mindfulness can be traced back to Buddhist practice.
Does the idea of tracking down one of these programs and signing up already stress you out? Don’t worry. If you simply want to take up mindful meditation to lower the stress risk for triggering migraines; Houston, San Francisco and virtually every city across America offer opportunities to learn and practice this drug free migraine therapy. Community centers, yoga studios and even medical centers are great sources for locating a certified mindfulness meditation instructor. For do-it-yourselfers the following steps can get you started:
- Sit with closed eyes, crossed legs and straight posture
- Focus on your breath entering and leaving your nose
- If you prefer, focus on your belly movement as you breathe
- As your mind wanders, bring it back to focusing on breathing
- Don’t get frustrated or judgmental as your mind wanders; simply return
- Begin with short (10 min) sessions and work your way up to longer periods
If you’re new to meditating, it might take some time to get the hang of it. Be patient and kind to yourself since ultimately it’s about managing daily stresses and preventing triggering your migraines. The last thing you want to do is stress out while being mindful.