A couple of months ago I committed to a summer-based exploratory health initiative involving morning meditation and I promised to report back with an update. The results have been profound. And the most noticeable outcome was completely unanticipated.
For nearly my entire adult life, I have experienced IBS-like symptoms, rotating through ongoing unpredictable bouts of constipation, diarrhea and normal stools. I was never able to detect an etiology or pattern of behavior that would explain my condition and it was very difficult to cope with and manage. Just like Groundhog Day, each time I would complain about these symptoms to my primary care provider at my annual physical, he would tell me that I needed to eat more fiber. I knew this was not accurate, as I have always eaten a lot of fruits and vegetables. My doctor even went as far as giving my samples of the medication Linzess, indicated for IBS symptoms, but I never took them and don’t ever plan to.
Not until recently – until I started meditating for 10-15 minutes each morning – did my IBS symptoms completely vanish. And within days of starting my meditation practice too. I now enjoy regular bowel movements each and every morning like clockwork, something I have NEVER experienced before and previously deemed unattainable.
I shared these results with my integrative practitioner recently and she had a very logical explanation for why this is happening. In addition to the relaxation response of me meditation – SCIENTIFICALLY – our organs, namely our our brains and stomachs, require glucose to function optimally. Anyone who experiences stress on a daily basis (i.e. me) requires more glucose to help their brains function. As my integrative practitioner pointed out, anytime my brain is competing with other organs for glucose, my brain will win. And now that I have been giving my brain a rest for 10-15 minutes each morning through meditation – before doing anything, including speaking with others and/or touching my iPhone – my GI tract is opportunistically utilizing this additionally available glucose to vastly improve my digestive process and output. It seems like a miracle but, really, it’s just science. And I love it!
I am so fascinated by and appreciative of the fact that we can dramatically improve our lives through minor lifestyle modifications. Although I could have never anticipated this particular mind body connection, it is now something I swear by and absolutely recommend to others. I have even done a little research on it and stumbled an article from Harvard that validates my claim and takes a deeper dive into the science behind this phenomena. Needless to say, I plan to continue my morning meditation indefinitely!