What is the connection between stress, meditation, and prostate / urinary health?
My research and clinical experience in urology have taught me one thing, not all urinary related urinary problems in men, despite age, are related to the prostate. I think physicians who automatically treat male urinary problems with prostate drugs first may be misguided.
Allow me to explain…
Your body has three types of muscles; skeletal muscles, cardiac muscles, and smooth muscles. Most of the urinary system (and blood vessels) consists of smooth muscles that are unique compared to the others.
One unique component is the effect stress has on smooth muscles.
Stress triggers a response from the central nervous system which causes smooth muscles to tighten up and squeeze, so, chronic, unmanaged stress can cause the bladder to be overactive (squeeze) and make you want to urinate more.
Here’s another thing; the prostate is 30% smooth muscle and also tightens up during stressful situations.
Have you ever been diagnosed with prostatitis and felt hopeless? Yep! That’s oftentimes caused by a tight prostate.
Meditation helps calm down your nervous system, therefore helps manage urinary symptoms better.
How does meditation help?
Relax the body from stress
Improve focus and stops the mental chatter
Stops unhelpful, negative thoughts
What is meditation?
Meditation is a practice that involves an intentional focus of attention in one thing, the breath, phrase (mantra), prayer or sound, and suspends the mind from other streams of thoughts aiming to feel more physically relaxed and calm.
What type of meditation is best for me?
There are many different types of meditation, including sitting passively to going for a three-mile run. Cooking can also be a form of meditation, for example as long as the focus is on one thing, there’s less chatter and it helps to reach the goal of relaxation and calmness.
Forms of meditation include but not limited to, transcendental meditation, Vipassana, chi gong, tai chi, and yoga.
All forms of meditation have one thing in common to accomplish the desired goal; deep, diaphragmatic breathing.
Both yoga breathing and meditation can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, the main biological part in keeping relaxed and calm.
MINDFULNESS MEDITATION INSTRUCTIONS
- Sit in a comfortable position. Try to sit in the same place each day. Avoid positions that you might fall asleep in.
- The back is long and supports itself.
- Shoulders are relaxed downward, the neck is long, and the chin is pointing neither up nor down.
- The face is relaxed.
- Begin to breathe (preferably through the nostrils). Feel the belly rise, the ribs expand, and the slight movement in the collarbones and shoulders as the breath moves upward. Feel the exhalation.
- Focus on one aspect of the breath:
- The movement of air in and out of the nostrils
- Or the lifting and falling of the belly
- Watch that one aspect of the breath.
- When the mind wanders, gently bring it back to the breath and the aspect you have chosen to watch.
- Do this as many times as you need to.
- There is no such thing as good or bad meditation. (Good and bad are judgments, events in the mind—just note them and go back to the breathing.)
- Start with 5–10 minutes and then increase the time until you can sit for 30 minutes.
(Institute for Functional Medicine Physician Resource Kit)
The Bottom Line with Meditation & Prostate Health
Relaxing your nervous system will have you stress less, be calmer, and improve urinary problems. The urinary issues with men of any age are not always prostate-related, they are caused by unmanaged stress.
Meditation helps relax your nervous system, leading to relaxes smooth muscles, then causing improved urinary problems.
Numerous scientific studies have proven the overall benefits of meditation.
The urinary connection to stress and mediation is from my own clinical observations.
Figure out what method of mediation works best for you. For example, I do well with 10-minutes of still meditation, not more. I enjoy more active meditation like skipping rope, running, or exercise in general, as long as I stay focused on one thing and manage the mental chatter. That is the goal.
I have not tried every app out there, but I like Sam Harris’ waking up – it is simple, practical, and like the developer of the app himself, Sam Harris. (SEE BELOW FOR DIGITAL TOOLS)
Harris is a neuroscientist, philosopher who’s practiced Buddhism – I resonate with scientists who implement the science of alternative practices like meditation.
Mindfulness in Plain English, by Bhante Gunaratana
The Experience of Insight, by Joseph Goldstein
Wherever You Go, There You Are, by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
PEOPLE I LISTEN TO ON MEDITATION AND MINDFULNESS