Meditation: Relax Your Way Out of Incontinence
In the United States alone, urinary incontinence affects some 25 million people of all ages, genders, nationalities and economic circumstances. Most people develop this condition in later stages of life, but it can happen to anyone at any age. It’s fairly common, and it’s nothing to feel ashamed of. But it can interfere with daily activities to some extent, so it’s a good idea to seek treatment if you’re encountering involuntary urination on a recurring basis.
Using a Multi-Faceted Approach to Relieving Incontinence
Fortunately, there are many ways to treat and even prevent incontinence, including natural remedies, exercise, nutritional supplements and incontinence products. It’s a good idea to use a variety of approaches to minimize the occurrence and impact of an overactive bladder on your lifestyle.
Meditation Can Help
Meditation is one such approach that can help you manage your urinary health and keep incontinence under control. While many people consider meditation to be a strictly spiritual or religious exercise, it isn’t really necessary to look at it that way.
Here are a few ways that meditation can help you manage incontinence and get back to living your life without constant interruptions.
1. Relaxation Is Key
In its simplest form, meditation is relaxation. You don’t need to use any specific poses or hand gestures. You don’t have to memorize any ancient chants in foreign languages. And you don’t have to convert to a new religion or join a monastery.
You can practice meditation on your couch, at your desk, in your car or while standing in line at the grocery store. The key is that you learn to control your breath, still your mind and relax your muscles. These three skills give you greater self-control over your body while reducing stress -- both of which are important when dealing with incontinence.
Here’s a quick overview of how to meditate:
If possible, find a quiet place to sit or lie down. You can sit on the floor, in a chair or couch, or even in your car while parked in the driveway.
1. close your eyes
2. deliberately focus all of your attention on your breathing
3. slowly inhale while counting to three
4. hold for a second
5. slowly exhale while counting to three
6. repeat a few times, counting silently in your head or out loud, if you prefer
Then, repeat the process, extending each breath to four counts -- then to five counts, six counts and beyond. Whenever your attention shifts from your breath to a noise around you or a thought about someone or something, gently pull away from the distracting thought and refocus your attention on your breath.
This will likely happen many times during your meditation session, but the more often you practice, the easier it will become to maintain your focus on the breath and reduce the number of thoughts that intrude on your relaxation session.
2. Try Out Meditation Aids
Despite the simplicity of meditative relaxation -- or “mindfulness meditation,” as it is often called -- many beginners find it useful to use some meditation props to help them meditate. If you are sitting on the floor and find that your back or legs often ache, try using a meditation cushion or pillow to make your sessions more comfortable.
You can also try using guided meditations -- using CD, video or actual classes -- in which a teacher guides you through a visualization exercise. Some of these might seem a little awkward at first, but stick it out a few times and see if they help.
3. Practice Throughout the Day
To reap the most benefit from meditation, it’s important to practice every day. But you don't have to do long sessions that last for hours. You can break up your practice into mini meditation sessions that last a few minutes each, spread throughout your day.
This is a great way to keep stress levels in check throughout the day, keep your cool and maintain mental clarity and productivity. Since stress is a common cause of incontinence, distressing throughout the day should be a regular part of your lifestyle.
Many men and women struggle with incontinence, but you don’t have to just suffer through it in silence. And you don’t have to retreat from daily activities either. Use meditation -- along with some of the other methods mentioned above -- to reduce symptoms of urinary incontinence and to continue to live the kind of lifestyle that you desire.