7 Benefits of Meditation for PCOS
If 2020 has been stressing you out, you aren’t alone! And stress can wreak havoc with PCOS, including increased cortisol, inflammation, blood sugar, negative impact on fertility, hair loss and more. What’s a cyster to do? Try meditating. Meditation has numerous health benefits for PCOS, ranging from lowering cortisol to decreasing risk of heart disease. Read nutrition student Lydia Chen’s post to get the low down on meditation.
What is meditation?
Meditation is a mental and physical practice that helps produce inner calmness and relaxation, and improves one’s health. During the practice, one focuses the attention and engages in the interactions among the brain, mind, body, and behavior. Meditation has many types, but commonly they all require the person to stay in a comfortable posture within a quiet, non-distracted environment, and to have an open mind for distractions. Some common types of meditation include: mindful meditation, transcendental meditation, samatha meditation, etc.
7 Health benefits of meditation for PCOS
- Reduced cortisol levels
This study published in Hormones and Behavior found the TM technique reduces cortisol by 30%.
- Improved Anxiety and Depression
Meditation can indirectly improve anxiety and depression through increasing one’s reappraisal, which negatively correlates with depression and anxiety, and helping one get rid of feelings of worry, rumination and suppression.
- Enhanced Immune System
Meditation might help you build a stronger body. One study showed that meditation improves mental composite score and mental health, the improvement of which leads to an increase in cytolytic activity of the innate immune cells, natural killer cells. The inflammation indicator C-reactive protein decreased as the anxiety level was lowered, indicating that there was less inflammation in the body after the practice of meditation.
- Lowers blood pressure Randomized controlled trials of transcendental meditation (TM) have demonstrated a blood pressure–lowering effect similar to a first-line antihypertensive medication compared with a control intervention of health education, Reference
- Lowered insulin and blood pressure in people with cardiovascular heart disease. Reference
- Improved Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)Meditation affects IBS positively. In one study, after 8 weeks of meditation training, participants had reduced severity in IBS by 26.4% compared to those in the control group and the effect was continuous 3 months later. In addition, less visceral anxiety was experienced 3 months post-training.
- Improves Attention. There was evidence suggesting that long-term meditation can improve visual acuity and vigilance, and the effect of meditation on attention continues post training.
How to incorporate meditation into your life
Maybe the thought of making yourself sit long enough to meditate stresses you out. Or maybe you don’t know where to start. Good news – meditation doesn’t have to be complicated. You can start with 5 minutes a day!
Tip 1: Try a meditation APP
Here are some of my favorites:
- Insight Timer
- Calm: Meditation to Relax, Focus & Sleep
- Stop, Breathe, Think
Tip 2: Meditate when taking a walk
What do you usually do on your way to a train station or to find your car in the parking lot? You might be listening to music or just heading to your destination. But you can use that time to practice meditation by linking the breath to your pace! Even if you don’t have time for a slow walk, you can practice it by breathing in and out regularly.
Tip 3: Meditate while doing housework
We do chores daily or weekly. It’s easier to incorporate meditation to activities that are done regularly and do not require a lot of decision making. Count your breath and take the time to do mindfulness. And you’ll have a really clean house!
Tip 4: Practice yoga
During yoga, you will learn some breathing techniques, which help you calm and get rid of anxiety and stress, and bring you into the state for meditation.
Tip 5: Sneak it in during the day
Take a 10 minute break in the middle of the day. Turn your screens off and try some of these breathing exercises.
Meditation can have a big impact of helping you manage stress, improve PCOS symptoms and decrease health risks. Start small and don’t make it complicated!
I’d like to thank Lydia Chen for writing this blog post.
Lydia is currently a senior at New York University majoring in Nutrition & Dietetics. She is a eager learner and is passionate about sharing comprehensive and interesting nutrition information with others. She enjoys shopping at Trader Joe’s and loves trying new food. As a tea lover, A cup of black, oolong or pu’er tea is enough for her to refresh!
Have you tried meditation?
I especially love problem-solving, whether it’s helping women defeat issues plaguing them for years, helping a busy executive find practical ways to get heart healthy, or providing tips to help you reverse diabetes. That’s why I’m on a constant quest to expand my knowledge by staying on top of the latest research.