Sit back, close your eyes and breath deeply — that’s the latest advice for the migraine sufferers out there. A new study from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre reveals that regular “mindfulness-based stress reduction,” or yoga and meditation to the rest of us, might just be the thing to keep you from wanting to lock yourself in a dark room the next time a raging migraine hits.
In the study, 10 people participated in an eight-week program, meeting weekly for two-hour relaxation sessions. They were also encouraged to fit 45 minutes of meditation into their day, five days a week. The sample was too small to prove anything for sure, but in the end there were fewer migraines among the group, and those who did get them reported they weren’t as bad as before.
While it’s all fine and good to relax once in a while, finding an extra 45 minutes in any given day can be a pretty hard feat when life gets in the way. To help tack on those minutes (or at least give you some extra options), we’ve come up with some unorthodox places where you can add some deep breathing into your day.
In the shower:
Threw out your shower radio about a decade ago? No problem. There’s no need for spa music when you’ve got the pitter-patter of your pressure shower top. Let the gentle sounds of an Amazonian rain forest surround you as you sink into a deep and warm state of relaxation. When you’re finally ready to emerge, make sure you pause and give thanks for such a tranquil start to the day.
We’ve all heard of noise-cancelling headphones, yes? Allow the gentle swaying of subway cars to lull you into a place of peaceful contentment even as you physically and spiritually connect with the rest of rush hour. For those of you who ride a bus to and from work, appreciate how the jerking brake motion causes your spine to re-align itself — and helps you to better target your chakras. Unfortunately, this session does not apply to drivers. Be sure to set the alarm on your phone so that you don’t miss your stop.
At your desk:
If you’re actually planning to take your lunch hour today, think about how much time you actually need to scarf down that quinoa and kale salad with a side of lemon water. Use this opportunity to become emotionally one with your fellow colleagues and appreciate that the universal bond you are forging is stronger than anything a pizza party could create. Not able to relax at your desk? Book a boardroom instead.
In the park:
There’s a reason this soothing location is the go-to choice of many looking to relax. As the wind flutters through the leaves and the soft stench of fast food wafts from a nearby can, sink peacefully into yourself. As for those near-rhythmic chants of a child screaming for their mother? Either tune them out or use them as a natural guide to regulating your breathing.
Use this as an opportunity to become closer to friends or family, depending on who you share your home with. Forgoing conversation, settle into a quiet state of oneness and openness, sharing not the details of your day but the feel of it as you take in just the essence of your meal, thanking Mother Nature for her bounty.
While watching TV:
Awaken yourself from the soporific lull of Biggest Loser by engaging your mind spiritually in this time of deep relaxation. (Or save it for the commercial breaks.) Sit with your back straight, letting the continuous cheers shape the positive backdrop of this session. For a greater test of your ability to stay alert and focused, we recommend The Mentalist.