If you aren’t a meditation guru already, then you’re probably visualizing a cross-legged Buddhist monk in the mountains, sitting extremely upright with their palms facing up. Lesson one of meditation: that’s called the lotus position.
But, meditation is a lot more than tangling your legs into a pretzel while chanting “ohmmm.” It’s becoming popular but it’s also highly misunderstood, just like an angsty teenager. Fortunately, we’re here to help a sister out. We’ll teach you what it is and how it can help you. After all, in case you haven’t heard, anxiety and leaks kind of go together like PB&J or Sunny and Cher. And knowing a little meditation might do you some good in the bladder department.
Tell Me What I Oughta Know
Before I get started, I want you to inhale through your nose and now exhale through your mouth. Lesson two, there’s a lot of that in meditation.
What you should know about meditation is that it’s not supposed to make you stop thinking. People think that meditation empties your thoughts and that, poof!, they’ll suddenly have a blank mind. Well, you have a mind and its job is to manufacture thoughts, so that won’t happen. But, what will happen with practice is an ability to quiet your mind so you can think certain thoughts without becoming attached to them. Channel your inner Elsa and say it with me: “Let it go.”
Lets Use Leaks As An Example
You’re probably like, “wait, what!?” Well, let me explain. Say you get invited to a party but you’re hesitant about going because you have the occasional spritz. You might start feeling anxious about it. What if people somehow find out about your leaks? What if you get the urge to go and don’t know where the bathroom is? Talk about stress-ful.
Meditation helps you train your mind to focus. Women who get good at meditation often can realize that they’re having a thought without getting irritated. It trains you to be aware and have a better sense of perspective. You can let those thoughts go like a bad boyfriend and carry on. Now doesn’t it sound pretty amazing to be able to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment? You bet.
While meditation doesn’t require any fancy equipment, you’ll want a couple key things. Lesson four, find something comfortable to park your buns on and a timer. Yes, stealing one from the kitchen is a-ok.
Once you get settled, focus on your posture. Some people lie down and others sit in the lotus position. Either way, you want to get comfy because of lesson five: being alert enough to focus on your breath.
Doing It “Right”
Throw rights and wrongs out the window. If you meditate with your eyes open and your palms facing down, you’re not doing it wrong. If you meditate with your eyes closed with your thumb and a finger forming a circle, you’re not doing it ‘right’. Lesson six: do what makes you comfortable. What works for someone else might not work for you. You do you.
Lesson 7: Focus On Your Breath
Once you get comfortable and set your timer, focus your breath. Pay attention to the small things. Focus on how the air feels as you breathe in and out of your nose. Notice the sensation as the air inflates and deflates your lungs. It’s actually challenging to do because our mind likes to wander away like those pesky drops of urine that slip out every now and then. When it begins to wander, you want to bring it back to your breath. Do this for about 10 minutes.
Lesson 8: Menopause + Meditation = A Great Pair
Studies show that people who meditate have less anxiety, lower blood pressure, improved blood circulation, and better bladder health. And if you know anything about menopause, then you know it comes with plenty of frustration and changes. Meditation is a great way to get grip on your mind, body, and bladder during the change.
Your blood pressure increases during and after menopause. Meditate. Weight gain occurs due to various hormonal changes during menopause. Meditate. Why? Because a focused mind is better at encouraging you to eat better and workout than an unfocused one. When the pelvic floor starts to weaken and the urine gets to leaking…meditate.
Find Your Happy Place
The last and final lesson actually includes a few tips and strategies to help you get started.
- Start off meditating for 5-10 minutes and gradually ramp it up over time. There’s no rush.
- Your alarm matters. Trust me, you don’t want to emerge from meditation to the sound of something completely obnoxious.
- Find a quiet place. A place where your kids won’t bust into the room and decide to play ring around the Rosie while you’re sitting there in lotus pose. It happens to the best of us.
- Keep going. It’s challenging to quiet a wandering mind, but with practice, meditation gets easier.
Have you tried meditation? Has it been helpful for you? Tell us about your experience in the comments.
And if you need a little extra peace of mind, Lily Bird has you covered with pads and underwear for leaky laughs and dribble dilemmas delivered right to your door. Start your trial today.
By Jessica Thomas, MPH