Three parts of my migraine protocol are:
1) Getting my zen on- Meditating every day or more if I want to. I do mindfulness meditation. It works the best for me. We all know there are benefits to meditation other than stress reduction. It helps preserve an aging brain. It helps with depression and anxiety. That depression factor is a perk for me. It improves concentration and attention. And it leads to some interesting changes in the brain:
In 2011, Sara Lazar and her team at Harvard found that mindfulness meditation can actually change the structure of the brain: Eight weeks of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was found to increase cortical thickness in the hippocampus, which governs learning and memory, and in certain areas of the brain that play roles in emotion regulation and self-referential processing. There were also decreases in brain cell volume in the amygdala, which is responsible for fear, anxiety, and stress – and these changes matched the participants’ self-reports of their stress levels, indicating that meditation not only changes the brain, but it changes our subjective perception and feelings as well. In fact, a follow-up study by Lazar’s team found that after meditation training, changes in brain areas linked to mood and arousal were also linked to improvements in how participants said they felt — i.e., their psychological well-being. So for anyone who says that activated blobs in the brain don’t necessarily mean anything, our subjective experience – improved mood and well-being – does indeed seem to be shifted through meditation as well. Forbes
2) Exercise- which is supposed to help with pain. It is also supposed to help with mood regulation and depression, but I recently read a study that suggested otherwise. Nevertheless, I have more than one chronic pain condition so exercise it is.
3) Gratitude Journal- List at least three things a day I am grateful for. It also lowers stress and helps with depression. It is focusing on positive things each day.
Now I have an app for that.
I use Breathe for my meditation and Happier for my gratitude journal. There are lots out there if this is the way you want to go, but those are the two that I have chosen to help me with my progress. I don’t use anything for exercise even though there are plenty because it is a very slow painful process to me, so I track it in my daily progress at the end of the day.