Migraines: Self Care Starts Here

It's what we all want... just a little bit of healing, please.
It’s what we all want… just a little bit of healing, please.

Migraines are rarely considered the best tool for enlightenment, but there may be something that we migraine sufferers can glean from their frequent and screaming interruption into our lives.

In my own experience, I find that when I start doing just a bit of introspection in and around my migraines (lying in bed in pain is a great time for introspection) what I discover is that I often haven’t taken proper care of myself. Now what that means, ‘proper care,’ can change depending on what my life looks like this year, or this month. The amount of sleep I need, for instance, changes. But there are something that remain constants, some of them physical, some of them emotional.

Physical Triggers

Of course we avoid the food that gives us a migraine, and try to avoid the smells that trigger them, but there are other things as well. Eating regularly, and eating healthy food. Keeping fully hydrated. Moderating caffeine intake. And then there’s muscle tension…

Ah, muscle tension. Eventually, it’s the muscles in the base of the skull that most profoundly affect migraines, but those muscles are attached to other muscles that go across the shoulders, all the way down the back and down the back of the legs. When these muscles get tight – as they do when we’re under stress – boom. Migraine.  But countering that is ridiculously easy, when done daily. The basic seated forward bend will do it. Here’s how: legs straight out in front of you, bend at the waist as far as you can – don’t forget to breathe deeply and then when you’ve gone as far as you can, slowly drop your head and breathe into that glorious stretch that will keep your migraines at bay. Done religiously twice a day for several minutes is one of the things that can keep most of my migraines away… when I remember to do it.

Emotional Triggers

Life’s stress also triggers migraine, and not just because our muscles start getting all tense. Louise Hay lists some of the probable causes of migraines as follows: a dislike of being driven, and/or resisting the flow of life. Now, that’s rather general, but for me it only takes a moment or two of quiet reflection to have a few specific ideas about what’s bugging me. Usually I just ask myself – ‘what am I resisting?’ Inevitably things occur to me, popping out of my subconscious – and sometimes there’s a whole list of things. At that point, when I’ve got my mental list of all the things to which I’m saying, “Shant! Won’t! Can’t make me!”… that’s when I can apply Louise’s new thought patterns to all of those specific things I’ve listed: I relax into the flow of life and let life provide all that I need easily and comfortably. Life is for me.

It’s amazing what just a little introspection can release. And once we release all this negativity, all these old patterns, it’s always a good idea to cleanse afterwards.

4 Quick Cleanses

1. Go for a walk. It doesn’t have to be long, but it does need to be outside – assuming your air quality is good enough and you can walk safely. Just the act of walking and breathing deeply can do wonders for clearing your energy.

2. Do something different. Get outside of your routine. Sit on a park bench. Hug a tree. Go find a waterfall. Scratch the friendly dog that walks by. Do yoga at work. Smile at a stranger. Take a walk at an unexpected time, or go for a walk in a neighborhood you normally just drive by. Getting outside of your routine can do wonders for clearing out your energy.

3. Cleanse your skin. Wash your face. Wash your hands. Take a shower. Do it slowly, gently. Dive deep into the experience of the soap suds, the feel of the water. Use your imagination – imagine all the resistance, the negativity being cleansed by the soap and flowing gently down the drain. Watch it wash away.

4. Cleanse your space. Light a candle. Open a window. Play some positive, energetic music. Say a prayer to invite goodness in and show negativity the door.


  1. Interesting – a lot of these are ideas I’d also suggest for coping with anxiety/panic attacks (at least if they’re caught early enough).

    • Absolutely. So much of self care is preventative, and early detection. But here’s what Louise says about anxiety: Probable Cause: Not trusting the flow and the process of life. New Thought Pattern: I love and approve of myself. I trust the process of life. I am safe.

      Good stuff.

  2. Please don’t discount medical causes for migraines and please follow up with your medical caregiver.

Leave a Reply