Flossing. Ugh. We know it's important to avoid gingivitis and cavities between our teeth, but it's such an easy task to let fall to the wayside when we're tired. And let's be honest: getting in bed sounds so much better than standing in the bathroom running a waxed thread back and forth between each tooth.
Re-frame Your Thoughts About Flossing
But what if flossing were the highlight of your bedtime routine? Instead of thinking of flossing as one more thing to get done before sleeping, flossing can be a time you set aside to take care of your whole self. In practice, rushing through toothbrushing and hustling into bed isn't sleep — or peace — inducing. When we incorporate meditation into our flossing routine, we can soothe our minds while we boost our oral health.
Let's face it: We skip flossing because it's boring. Adding meditation makes it a pleasant experience with double the benefits. But the nature of flossing — repetitive movements that don't require active thought — lends itself well to practicing meditation. It's also something that, like mediation, works best when done on a daily basis.
Meditation is free, not hard to learn, and can make your life better. We're not kidding. Among other benefits, meditating is thought to help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, relieve insomnia, manage depression and anxiety, and generally contribute to a better quality of life. It can even contribute to falling asleep faster and having more compassion for others.
How to Get Started
1. Set the Scene
To get started, make yourself comfortable by getting in your jammies. Put on music you find soothing or white noise, if that helps you unplug your brain a bit. Dim the lights in your bathroom (you can always turn off any bright overhead lights and light a candle to have enough light to maneuver), and get out your floss.
2. Start Small
Beginning to meditate can be difficult. You can try a guided meditation if you like. Or you could start with a very simple technique: Pay attention to the sensations of taking three breaths. There's no gold star in meditation, and no wrong way to meditate.
There are many types of meditation, but to begin reaping the benefits of meditation, you can simply turn your attention inward. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgement or analysis. Practice focusing on the sensation of air on your skin, on what you can hear, or on what you can see. How does the floss feel in your fingers? How does your face feel as you hold your mouth open? Let your thoughts come and go as they wish.
In both flossing and meditation it's important to be gentle and to keep at it. It will feel weird the first time you do it. You can course correct, trying out different mindfulness techniques until you find a style that you enjoy. It might be uncomfortable to sit with your thoughts. You may feel a little silly. But give try meditating during flossing for a week and see how you feel.