Equanimity Migraine Meditation Step-By-Step

meditating in the dark helps with migraine

Migraines are tough. They aren’t normal headaches. Those who don’t suffer from them can be dismissive, thinking that the migraine sufferer should just get over it.

Migraine meditation can help you “get over it” faster and even allow you to forgo medication. The method presented below is not a quick fix. It does take more effort than popping a pill, but it does work — for me, at least. And meditation includes a huge array of other benefits as well.

Migraines are a lot more intense and can come with vomiting and feeling like you’d rather be dead. Yes, often in the throes of a really bad migraine, I personally have felt like I’d prefer to be dead. It makes me feel a little nauseous to even think of it.

That said, my migraines aren’t nearly as long-lasting as others. For that, I feel fortunate.

Everyone is Different

Through trial and error and experimentation, many people gradually find ways to treat their migraines. Since every migraine sufferer seems to have different triggers and different solutions, there is no one-size-fits-all magic bullet.

One person may find lying down helps relieve the pain, while another may feel it is better to sit up. One person may find that some physical activity is helpful. Another may find it better to be very still.

There is even lots of variability within an individual’s migraines. Some are more intense than others. Some may last longer. Coming to understand your own style of migraine is a puzzle and an adventure! Part of my adventure was trying meditation to treat migraines.

The Benefits of This Meditation Style For Reducing Migraine Pain

So here I’ll present a style of meditation that I hope you will find beneficial too. I have done the following meditation when I have a migraine aura, so I know a migraine is coming. It always reduces the pain a lot, sometimes even 100%, by the time I get up from the session. At the very least, the headache is reduced by 80%, and I don’t need any medication. Is it the best meditation for migraine? I don’t know, but it works for me and is similar to many mindfulness practices.

Related: 2 Migraine Auras in a Row?

One word of caution: this practice won’t work well unless you can be in a quiet place for at least an hour, so don’t give up your medication yet! I still take ibuprofen and acetaminophen when I can’t sit quietly.

How To Do Migraine Meditation with Equanimity

I’ll present this in easy steps. I know how hard it can be hard to think straight when a migraine is coming on.

  1. Once you know a migraine is coming on, find yourself a quiet, dark place if possible. Noise and bright lights can trigger migraines or make them worse.
  2. Find yourself somewhere comfortable to sit. Part of this meditation is not to make too much effort, so please don’t try to sit in a strict posture unless that is comfortable for you. You want your body to be upright but relaxed. A cushion supporting your lower back is fine.
  3. Relax your body and mind. Panicky thoughts about migraine pain can be dropped. The idea is to develop equanimity to regard whatever happens as neither good nor bad.
  4. Gently, very gently, start to focus on your breathing. If thoughts come, don’t push them away, rather, just return to awareness of your breathing.
  5. Once you are aware of the breathing, then become aware of the sensation deep in your body. Become aware of the breath deep in your belly so that you feel the sensation of breath pushing down on your viscera. The idea is to get attention away from your head and any sensations occurring there.
  6. If you have any feelings in your head or anywhere else in your body, don’t pay attention to them, but don’t forcibly ignore them either — they are just background noise. Your task is to pay attention to the feelings of the breath low in your body in a very relaxed way. Ideally, you’re using almost no effort to be aware of the breath.
  7. While doing all of the above, continue to notice any tension in your body. When you feel tension, relax it again and again. Try relaxing tense areas as you breathe out and being aware of the breath sensations low in your body when you breathe in.
  8. If there is pain, don’t worry about it. Just let it be. It will eventually dissolve. Think of the pain as neither good nor bad. Have equanimity towards the pain and regard it as just another sensation. So much of the suffering from pain comes from resisting it, seeing it as an enemy, and fighting it. It IS possible to experience it as a sensation, neither good nor bad, and to relax with it.
  9. Keep at it as long as you can, doing steps 3 to 8 over and over and over.
  10. If you can do the same meditation when you aren’t experiencing any pain or migraine, you will find it much more effective when you are starting to have a migraine. Think of it as like any training; you get better as you practice it. Just as an athlete practices a lot before the actual competition, so also you can practice before you get a migraine so that you have confidence and ability when it is really needed.

In Conclusion

So, that’s it. Doing this meditation really helps when you are about to get a migraine (for instance, you are getting an aura). It also helps to do it regularly in order to improve your stress levels and well-being, both of which will make your attacks less frequent. If you have time, a relaxing physical practice like yoga for migraine also helps a lot.

Also see: Is Migraine Dangerous?

As mentioned earlier, becoming familiar with this method before you get a migraine will make it more effective when you do actually get one.

If you aren’t meditating already, it can really help many facets of your life and is well-accepted among even more conservative parts of the medical and psychological communities.

However, it is important to have some guidance now and again (or even regularly if you can) in order to avoid pitfalls and needless detours.

Happy meditating, and hope you get permanently free of migraines.

Credit: Photo by Max on Unsplash