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Health & Wellness

How Mindfulness and Meditation Can Help Manage PMS Symptoms

Even though the menstrual cycle can be filled with cramps, mood swings, and intense food cravings, there are some effective practices that can reduce these discomforts.

PMS affects roughly 90 percent of all women and is characterized by a variety of symptoms that can set in over the last phase of the menstrual cycle. Women may experience a few or many of these symptoms including headaches, bloating, irritability, emotional upset, and many others.

To date, researchers are not sure what exactly is the root cause PMS, yet most agree that the changes in hormones levels can contribute to a range of uncomfortable symptoms.

Experts studying menstruation have also found these symptoms can be managed, controlled and even reduced through a variety of lifestyle changes and the use of appropriate medication. 1 Additionally, it has recently been shown that practicing mindfulness and meditation can help with the management of PMS symptoms.

pms symptoms Managing PMS Through Self-Awareness


Through the practice of meditation, positive attitudes and optimistic emotions are cultivated and can be used to counterbalance the upset that occurs towards the end of the monthly cycle.

Just as negative emotions can have a powerful effect on the mind and body, causing pain and discomfort, positive emotions can have the opposite effect. A mind full of positive emotions can soothe the body, relaxing the muscles and imparting a powerful feeling of well-being and control.

When discussing mindfulness and meditation, it’s easy to get the wrong idea about the point of the practice. Meditation is not just about finding enlightenment, communicating with the divine, or even becoming a better or healthier person. The point of the practice is simply to gain valuable awareness and a healthier perspective on what lies within.

Because of this, meditation for relieving the effects of PMS should not be about ignoring or shutting off the discomfort, negativity, or moodiness. The ultimate goal is to observe what happens within without judgment. Total acceptance is the greatest gift you can give yourself and will allow you to better understand your feelings and thoughts.

Highlighted below are top five ways that mindfulness and meditation can help with the management of PMS symptoms and help with treatment.

Build Awareness of the Monthly Cycle  PMS Symptoms


Many experts have encouraged women to keep a notebook with details of their experiences with PMS as they feel them. The common result has been a better understanding of the patterns that exist between the symptoms and their triggers. Understanding how moods fluctuate removes their element of surprise and allows for better decisions to counter them.

For example, the practice of meditation may illuminate a tendency towards negativity or aggravation related to the menstrual cycle. Knowing that this is a condition associated with a natural process can allow for a more natural and relaxed approach to these recurring feelings. This may do nothing to reduce the feelings, but by not reacting to them with negativity or distress, the intensity of the discomfort is in no way worsened. 2

PMS Symptoms Communicate Mindfully with Loved Ones


During times of emotional upset and moodiness, it is easy to allow harsh words or negative phrases to impact those around you. This is common to all and stems from allowing moods and feelings to be expressed aloud before the mind has a chance to filter the content.

Once again, mindfulness or meditation does little to diminish the occurrence of anger and negative feelings, but it can reduce the amount of control these feelings have over good judgment. Through greater mindfulness, feelings can be observed in a neutral and non-judgmental way, which prevents their energies from causing a reaction.

Get Better Sleep pms symptoms


During the menstrual cycle, sleeping patterns can be disrupted. This aggravates the symptoms of PMS as much of the chemical balance of the body is established during sleep cycles.

As part of an ongoing plan for reducing the symptoms of PMS, meditation has many benefits for improving sleep. For example, it has been found that those who practice regular meditation enjoy high-quality sleep patterns and fall asleep more quickly. According to the experts at Harvard, this is because meditation reduces stress levels in the body and induces a state of relaxation, which is more conducive to good sleep. 3

If you are having a hard time falling asleep, taking a few minutes to practice meditation in the comfort of your bed to relax the mind and soothe the body.

pms symptoms Practice Mindful Comfort Eating


It is a known fact that cravings for salty or sweet goodies and other tasty treats are a part of the whole PMS packet. This is only a problem when not handled properly. If there is ever a good time to indulge, mindful indulgence can greatly increase pleasurable experiences and ensure minimal negative side effects.

When cravings are addressed with unbridled indulgence, they produce feelings of shame and guilt which lead to more indulgences. Mindful indulgence has all the perks of unbridled indulgence, plus the thrills of anticipation and minimal negative effects.

Through the practice of mindfulness, comfort foods are more comforting because they are not laced with the fears of overindulgence and the guilt that can follow. Through mindfulness, it is possible to establish a situation where foods can be enjoyed at a leisurely pace, allowing for a full sensory experience rather than a mindless binge.

By maintaining full awareness and attention to each sensation and experience while eating, you may prevent the urge to eat more than you actually want to.

Learn to Understand Yourself pms symptoms


During PMS, self-care covers a wide range of activities and practices and other details that are meant to improve mood and soothe the mind and body. Activities can include calling or meeting up with a good friend, watching a movie, or using aromatherapy .

Taking the time to learn more about your mind, the feelings you experience, and the nature of your personal PMS allows for the most ideal self-care. The only way to truly satisfy inner needs is by taking the time to know them fully, which can be achieved through meditation.

Conclusion


Beginning the practice of meditation for soothing the symptoms of PMS is as simple as finding a comfortable spot and getting to know your mind and self a little better. If you feel that you need help grounding the mind and relaxing the body before your practice session, don’t forget the powers of essential oils and aromatherapy.

The fragrant essences of lavender, clary sage and bergamot essential oils have been applied for many centuries for relieving the discomforts of the menstrual cycle. Furthermore, they can be used to ground the anxious mind and prepare a relaxing environment for a meditation session.

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