Meditation has long been used by cultures around the world to help focus the mind and promote relaxation. And while the mental effects of meditation have been enjoyed for decades, researchers have recently been exploring how it can affect the body. In this post, we’ll explore how meditation can improve your skin and help you build confidence.
But first, how does meditation work?
How does meditation work?
When we meditate, our brains stop processing information as actively as they normally would. As a result, a few things happen:
- Our frontal cortex—the part of the brain responsible for reasoning, planning, emotions, and self-awareness—becomes less stimulated, which can give us a feeling of detachment.
- Our parietal lobe—the part of the brain that processes sensory information and orients us in time and space—is deactivated, which can cause time to feel like it’s slowing down or speeding up.
Both of these neurological effects can cause a significant reduction in stress and anxiety when we meditate. With that in mind, here are 3 ways meditation can improve your physical appearance and boost your confidence:
1. Protect your skin from acne, wrinkles, & more
Meditation can improve skin’s appearance by treating the underlying causes of stress that are responsible for many common skincare concerns, such as premature aging, under-eye bags, acne, and redness.
- Meditation can prevent skin aging. According to researchers, meditation can protect your telomeres (the protective caps at the ends of your chromosomes), which in turn can increase your resistance to skin cell aging. An Experimental Dermatology study reported that lab mice with longer telomeres were more likely to experience faster wound healing and less likely to develop skin ulcers.
- Meditation may reduce dark under-eye circles. Meditation may be able to reduce the appearance of dark under-eye circles by increasing oxygen flow in the body. Since we tend to breathe more deeply when we meditate, this introduces more oxygen and nutrients to the skin, which increases blood flow and boosts cellular health.
- Meditation can improve complexion. Stress affects the skin’s protective outer barrier, reducing its ability to retain moisture and repair itself, and can lead to issues like acne, rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema. It also turns out that our skin gets itchy when we’re stressed because our body sends nerve signals that cause us to itch. If we respond by scratching or picking, this creates even more swelling and redness. By reducing our stress level, we can prevent skin flare ups and itching.
2. Improve your posture & increase confidence
Meditation can help you improve your posture and increase your confidence.
- Meditation can improve your posture. Most guided meditations suggest you sit or stand up tall with your shoulders back & down and chest out. This erect position naturally encourages you to engage your core. Over time, assuming this meditation position can strengthen your back, shoulders, and core, and help you appear taller, more confident, and more relaxed.
- Meditation can increase your confidence. Tapping into the present moment can help you feel more grounded and at ease with yourself and the world. And because our frontal cortex and parietal lobe are less active during meditation, we become less concerned with our egos. While this may sound counterintuitive to increasing your self-confidence, think about it this way: our egos are incredibly sensitive, so when you are able to deactivate yours, you are less attached to the way others perceive you and whether or not you are “good enough.” Turning off the ego-mind can allow you to simply be you without assigning terms like “good” and “bad” to your identity.Not only is self-confidence good for our emotional and mental wellbeing, but research has found that confidence is a character trait most people find attractive. So this benefit of meditation actually creates a positive feedback loop where having increased confidence can increase your attractiveness, which can, in turn, reinforce your self-confidence.
3. Maintain a healthy weight
Meditation can improve skin’s appearance by treating the underlying causes of stress that are responsible for many common skincare concerns.
When you have a stressful day, are you more likely to grab a bowl of ice cream or cook up a batch of brown rice and broccoli? Don’t feel bad—most people choose the ice cream. This is because we often make food choices based on our current emotional state rather than our physical needs.
Meditation can help you make better decisions around food by increasing your awareness of your body and your emotions. In fact, research has shown that meditation may be able to help those with obesity and eating disorders control their eating patterns and make healthier food choices. The idea is twofold:
- By becoming more aware of your body, you’ll want to nourish it with healthy foods; and
- By becoming more grounded, you’ll be able to regulate your emotions and choose food that is more aligned with “feeling good.”
Start your meditation practice with an app
We know that starting a meditation practice can be daunting; the idea of sitting in silence with your own thoughts for even just a few minutes makes some of us feel like running for the hills. Instead of going it alone, we recommend using a meditation app like Headspace or Insight Timer to get started. These apps offer guided meditations for relieving stress, improving sleep, increasing self-confidence, and more. They also help you log your meditations so you can stay consistent with your practice.
Improve your appearance with Fairfax plastic surgeon Dr. Christopher Hess
While meditation may be able to improve your appearance by preventing or even reversing some of the physical effects of stress, it’s not able to help with all aesthetic concerns. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Christopher Hess can help your skin look rested and bright with non-surgical treatments like Botox, facial fillers, chemical peels, and more at his state-of-the-art Fairfax practice. Contact Dr. Hess online or call 703.752.6608 to schedule your consultation today.