Until around two months ago, meditation was a practice I'd only partaken of when either food or booze — or both! — was promised. Before you judge, let me explain: I'd always been attracted to meditation as I've heard many an anecdote about its amazing life-altering abilities, but because it feels like my brain can run a million miles a minute, I had been hesitant to give it an honest shot. For anyone unfamiliar, meditation is an ancient technique involving an intense focus on an object, thought, or activity, and has been used for approximately 5,000 years by those seeking to achieve a clear state of mind.
While scrolling through Instagram one fateful night, I came across MNDFL, a studio in New York City that offers monthly events, some of which involved the aforementioned booze and bites. It seemed like a potentially great way to dip my toe into meditation without diving in head-first — and I wasn't disappointed. During one of MNDFL's event, I munched on a delicious vegan meal whipped up for us by a Brooklyn-based chef. And at another, I got mildly tipsy from sipping on whiskey drinks, an activity we were supposed to be done mindfully, and somehow managed to land myself a date during the cocktail hour portion of the night. Spoiler alert: We didn't end up dating because he had to go back to London for work, but the experience was pretty thrilling nonetheless.
It wasn't until recently, however, that meditation really started to pique my interest. "Could this tranquillity-inducing technique actually make a difference in my quality of life?," I wondered while watching a vlogger rave about how much it had helped her anxiety. Shortly thereafter, I developed an obsession with watching My Meditation Routine videos on YouTube. I found them relaxing and inspiring, which lead me to question yet again whether I should quit watching other people reap its benefits and actually give meditation an real go.
It was a particularly bad series of red, itchy skin flare-ups, spearheaded by a rare and chronic skin condition I have known as Netherton Syndrome, which finally made me pull the plug. In other words, I decided to get serious about trying meditation on a daily basis to see if it would help improve not only the state of my skin but also my overall well-being and ability to cope with my chronic illness. Now, don't get me wrong — I wasn't expecting a miracle. Considering there are several factors, such as diet, environment, and weather, contributing to my skin woes, but still, I crossed my fingers and hoped for some improvement.
Before embarking on my meditation journey, I consulted Sejal Shah, a dermatologist at Smarter Skin Dermatology in New York City, for her expert insight on the matter. Surprisingly, she came back with good news. "We know that stress and stress-related hormones can adversely affect the skin, so practising meditation can help to reduce stress, therefore potentially improving the skin's appearance," says Shah.
And with that, so it began. Instead of opting for a class, which from my experience at MNDFL, proved somewhat distracting, I decided to download Headspace, a widely popular guided meditation and mindfulness app that helps you ease into the practice and find a technique that works for you.
Because I'm a meditation newb and because I value my sleep, I started with just five or so minutes in the mornings as a way to gently wake myself and (hopefully) get my mind right for the day ahead. Interested to see how it all turned out, and more importantly: if meditation had a positive impact on my skin? Get all the details, below.
Taken from Allure. Read the original here.