Period symptoms are pretty high on the list of aggressively uncomfortable sensations that need to GTFO of my body ASAP. Personally, I've tried absolutely everything to ease my aching lower back and pulsing nipples (seriously, why is this a thing), but the one thing that always gives me some relief is forcing myself to do some breathing exercises and meditation — even when it's the last thing I want to do. No, meditating on your period isn't some kind of magical, hippie-witchcraft BS that dissolves all bodily aches and mood swings in an instant, but there is some scientific evidence that it works wonders for relieving menstrual discomfort, so you know what? It's definitely worth trying, guys.
If you're a woman who gets a period every month, then you know the damn struggle is real. According to Veronica Parker, a kundalini yoga teacher and meditation coach, many women deal with incredible amounts of pain during their period, which can lead to debilitating stress as a result. "Scientific studies have shown women under high stress are more than twice as likely to experience pain during menstruation (aka dysmenorrhea)," Parker tells Elite Daily. And what's one of the best, most effective ways to relieve stress? You guessed it.
Parker says meditating is a great way to de-stress, especially when dealing with painful period symptoms, all because of the relaxation response that mindfulness elicits in your body.
According to research published in the journal Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, finding ways to relax your body (via things like meditation) is "an effective treatment for physical and emotional premenstrual symptoms," and in fact, this may be "most effective in women with severe symptoms." Along with any prescribed medications that may relieve your own individual PMS symptoms, practicing meditation during your period really can do wonders for your pain and discomfort. The science doesn't lie, friends, and neither does Parker. In fact, she has one specific meditation technique that she absolutely swears by for PMS pain.
"This is one that I love to do," the meditation coach tells Elite Daily. "Close your eyes gently, and bring one hand to your heart and one hand over your uterus. Inhale deeply through the nose to the count of four. Hold the breath in for four. Exhale for four counts." Parker suggests repeating this practice a minimum of three times when your gnarly PMS symptoms just aren't going away. Then, she says, be sure to notice and take note of how you're feeling when you're done, to see what does and doesn't work for your body. If you have time, try journaling about how this form of meditation makes you feel, or before your mindfulness practice even begins, start things off with some soothing yoga poses for PMS for a full mind-body experience.
But if these suggestions aren't quite doing it for you, Dr. Leena Guptha, DO, academic dean of Graduate Studies at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, says self-affirmations can help relieve your period pain, too.
"Using self-affirmations while meditating can be an impactful, drug-free way of focusing on uplifting health and well-being," Dr. Guptha tells Elite Daily, "potentially assisting with distress of period cramps and creating mind-body spirit balance."
Self-affirmations, Dr. Guptha explains, can help you see things from a more reasonable, considerate, and even rational perspective. So instead of losing your sh*t when the bodega down the street from your apartment runs out of your favorite chocolate-almond Hershey's bar, for instance, practicing self-affirmations during meditation might help you see the positives in a crappy situation like this, or at the very least, it'll simply help you keep your cool, even when you feel like you want to explode. "The subconscious mind is most open to helpful and beneficial suggestions while we are in the 'alpha' brainwave state — our most relaxed state of mind," Dr. Guptha says. "The alpha wave frequency is often achieved in a meditative state, or just before falling asleep, creating an optimal time to receive positive affirmations."
Shower yourself with all the self-love while you're meditating, even if you feel like an actual piece of poop because of your period symptoms. Positive affirmations like, "I am so grateful for my incredible body," or, "I am free of pain and suffering," or, "I am in charge of how I feel, and today, I am choosing happiness," are all great places to start.
This might be new, and even a bit weird for you if you haven't done it before, so try to keep an open mind, and release all expectations you have for your meditation practice. As Dr. Guptha notes, these types of positive affirmations will only work if you, yourself, are ready and willing to manifest positive change — so, are you?