The school season is now in full swing as autumn arrives once again. Not only do our school-aged children descend upon us with excited news of their days and reams of paperwork for us to return, but also with an abundance of delightful communal germs.
In order to keep illness at bay we admonish our children to get to bed early, eat a balanced diet, and “wash your hands!” It is often much easier to care for our kids in this way than for ourselves. We moms, however, would be wise to heed our own advice. After all, there doesn’t seem to be much of an allowance for mama sick days. We’re most likely only granted a free pass if deemed seriously ill. Whether helping with homework, organizing schedules, carpooling, or lending a supportive ear, we Superhero moms are expected to continually save the day.
It is with this assumption that I do what I can to remain healthy for the benefit of my family and myself. I attempt to get as much sleep as possible within the confines of the chaotic school-year schedule, wash my hands often, and meditate. Yes, meditate.
Research now shows that even small doses of meditation not only condition us to stress less, enjoy more, and experience an overall increased sense of happiness, but also boost our immune system.
In a study by Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, research participants were divided into two groups—one group meditated daily for eight weeks; the other group received no meditation training. At the end of the eight weeks, participants from both groups were given an influenza vaccine. Results showed increased antibodies to the vaccines in the meditators, whereas there was no change in antibodies in the non-meditators. Davidson’s research indicates that daily mindfulness meditation actually increases immune response, which means we are able to fight all those germs our kids bestow upon us with more vigor and stay healthy more often. Sign me up, please!
So do yourself a favor and take those few minutes to meditate and increase your chances for a healthier, happier school year. If meditation were offered in supplement form, you know we would be all over that. Fortunately, meditation is simple, free, and accompanied by all sorts of healthy side effects.
Here’s to honing those mindful mama superpowers and to a fantastic school year….