meditation
The IC diet blog is generally food and recipe oriented as these are the things that most often help in controlling IC symptoms. However, research has shown that stress, lack of sleep, unhealthy habits and poor diet can also contribute to worsening IC symptoms. With our hectic schedules, holiday stress and less than healthy eating choices, this time of year takes a toll on those with IC. It is important to take time out for nurturing ourselves and meditation is the perfect remedy.
Maybe you think you aren’t the “meditation type” or you have tried to meditate and it just doesn’t seem worthwhile, maybe it’s time to try it again. There are just too many benefits to ignore:

* improved immunity
* lower blood pressure
* reduced inflammation (this contributes to IC, arthritis, heart disease, asthma and more)
* reduced stress
* less anxiety
* better sleep
* healthier eating choices

A 10 minute break to sit still may be all it takes to reenergize and provides a wonderful opportunity for reflection – sometimes we lose sight of what is truly important. For those of you who prefer the more traditional, praying works just as well. If you are still uncertain, you can’t meditate “wrong”. It does take time and practice to develop the skill, but that 10 minute break to start will have benefits even if you’re not sure it’s working.

1) Find a comfortable cushion or favorite chair (the “yogi” pose is not required) in a quiet, tidy spot you can reserve just for this. Wear loose comfortable clothes – not too warm, not too cool.
Turn off all distractions (phone, tv, kids ha-ha just teasing but do find time for yourself).
Those who really struggle with sitting still may want to research walking meditation.
A visual unmoving pleasant object like a candle or a flower may help with focus as can dimmer lighting.
2) Take a few deep breaths filling your belly with air not just your chest, and consciously relax your body on exhalation. Rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth and breathe regularly very slowly in and out through your nose.
3)Drop any expectations about what you are supposed to be achieving and just be, exactly as you are.
4)Do any one of the following:
– Repeat a phrase (mantra) or follow or count your breaths.
– Pay attention to the sensations in your body (a pulse? tingling?).
– Feel love, compassion, forgiveness or other healing emotions.
– Visualize a peaceful place you love (the beach, woods).
– Reflect on an inspirational message or sacred writing
– Gaze at a peaceful picture (sunset).
– Contemplate the beauty in the world or in music.
To reap the full range of benefits, use one consistently for about 10 minutes daily for a few weeks. Later you may be able to use more than one technique.

Ta-da! You just completed your first 10 minute meditation. As you get used to it, you may extend the time, if it is comfortable. Don’t work too hard. If you try for a month and just don’t know if you are on track, consult someone skilled in meditation or try a phone app or cd for guided meditation or progressive relaxation.