Meditation is well-known as a technique to improve mental and psychological well-being and ideally bring you to a spiritual awakening, but does it also affect your appearance — your outer beauty? Well, yes! Simply put, if you improve your inner well-being your outer facade is positively enhanced quite naturally. In the same that things like the air that you breath and the food that you eat can affect your health, hair, and skin quality so can paying attention to your mental and psychological and even spiritual health.
How Meditation Improves Health and so, Beauty
Meditation’s main benefit on health is through stress reduction. Many studies show that actual physical changes take place in the brains of meditators in as short a time as two months. The amygdala, a part of the brain associated with stress and fear, actually shrinks. When stress is reduced many benefits that are associated with heightened beauty occur both right away and more slowly over weeks, months and even years.
Do you suffer from any of the problems in the table below? If so, starting up a meditation practice will likely help and so help your appearance.
So, it has been established scientifically that meditation can reduce stress and the symptoms of stress. The next question to ask is “How does reducing the symptoms of stress improve beauty?” Let’s look at a few concrete examples…
Meditation reduces tiredness and disturbed sleep – it is obvious how this will affect your appearance! Ever hear the phrase “beauty sleep”? When we’ve slept well we are more relaxed, clearer, and happier. Our overall presence is one of greater well-being which has a strong effect others perceiving us as more attractive.
Meditation reduces fear associated with stress – If you are fearful you are tense, you don’t smile, and there is no room for confidence and your natural goodness to show itself. In the same way that a good night’s sleep allows us to be happier so does being less anxious and fearful. Happier means healthier and more beautiful – a smiling happy person is more beautiful than a fearful tense person.
Less stress through meditation means healthier eating habits – When you have healthier emotions and less stress you are less likely to indulge in bad eating habits. Many unhealthy eating habits come from negative emotions like anger or loneliness. It naturally follows that if you eat too much or eat unhealthy foods you will fall out of your healthy weight range, lose energy and feel more “blah”: all things which affect how your feel about yourself and how you appear to others.
How To Meditate?
The best way to meditate to reduce stress and increase your happiness and presence is probably simple attention to your breathing. Jon Kabat-Zinn who founded what is now called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction or MBSR. MBSR uses an ancient non-religious meditation technique to quickly improve health and happiness of everyone from hospital patients to businessmen and business women. Check out Jon Kabat-Zinn on 60 Minutes to get an idea of how it works (it’s simple! but difficult to do perfectly, the good thing is that even doing it not-that-well is very beneficial). The basic technique of meditation? Sit still and be aware. While it is good to just relax in an aware state it is often difficult to do that in a sustained manner. That’s where using the breath comes into play. To make it easier to be present we gently focus on the feeling of the breath going in and out. When thoughts come we don’t get upset at ourselves, instead we just return again and again to the breath without judgment. It’s simple but… it’s hard to do. See the teaching and guided meditation video at the bottom of this page.
The reason sitting still while meditating is preferred is that it gets more difficult to do the more complex the activity you are engaged in. Therefore things like running and meditating/mindfulness or playing basketball and meditating are considered very advanced and difficult to do in a prolonged manner. In fact it is even difficult to do in prolonged way sitting still, let alone moving around! That’s not to say that being aware in everything you do is wrong — far from it — but just to caution that a formal sitting meditation practice establishes an important foundation to build on.
It is highly recommended to get an actual person to help guide you at first as it is easy to go off on unproductive tangents that will just waste your time. So, while it is really good to use a CD or MP3 or other form of recorded guided meditation, seeking out other meditators and teachers of meditation is an indispensable part of learning to do it well and in a way that will help you.
How Often to Meditate?
When starting meditation as a beginner it is best to begin with short sessions of five minutes or so, and gradually work up to half an hour or more. Trying to do too-long sittings without guidance can backfire and lead to greater tension, as sometimes happens when trying too hard with any new endeavour. This is part of the reason why seeking guidance is especially important.
A steady and frequent practice of meditation and mindfulness is one of the many behaviours that can lead to greater health, glow, and beauty. If you begin a meditation practice in concert with a healthy diet, regular exercise and other positive actions you are bound to experience a happier and more meaningful life in many ways not just more beauty.