Busy Philipps got super real about her anxiety-induced skin picking and the way she copes with it
Busy Philipps already knows how to prioritize her physical health. She’s always sharing her LEKFit workouts on Instagram, and she’s even been spotted hitting the tennis courts lately, too. Now, the actress is making mental health a top priority. Philipps recently shared on Twitter that she’s been trying to learn how to meditate. Her verdict? “It works,” she tweeted.
Phillips said that although it’s only been a few days since she began her practice, she’s already reaping some positive benefits. “Been meditating for 5 days now (twice a day for 20ish minutes if I can),” she captioned an Instagram selfie, adding that the practice has been particularly beneficial in helping her deal with a nervous habit she has of picking her skin.
In case you didn’t know, Philipps has been pretty open about her skin-picking habit on social media. Back in August, she responded to a troll who slid into her DMs to tell her she has “terrible” skin. In a series of Instagram Stories, she wrote that while she does genuinely love her complexion, her skin-picking habit can sometimes make self-love more challenging.
For those who are unfamiliar with the habit, skin-picking is a common coping mechanism some people turn to when experiencing negative emotions such as anxiety, sadness, anger, stress, and tension, according to the International OCD Foundation. It can lead to feelings of relief, but it can also lead to shame and guilt.
Though more research needs to be done on the subject, skin-picking is often a response to a tense or stressful situation, per the International OCD Foundation—meaning stress-relieving activities (such as meditation) can be a healthy way to manage the habit. In fact, stress reduction is a vital component in managing skin-picking, and techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga can help, Sandra Darling, DO, preventive medicine physician and wellness expert, said in a blog post for the Cleveland Clinic.
For Philipps, that means taking 20 minutes out of her day to sit down and be with her thoughts, she wrote on Instagram. But it’s important to note that meditation is rooted in mindfulness—aka the mindset of being in the present moment, which can be practiced in a variety of ways. For example, if 20 minutes of meditation sounds daunting, try meditating for 10, or even just five minutes at a time. You can also meditate lying down, on your commute to or home from work, or if sitting in stillness isn’t your style, try writing a list of things you’re grateful for in a journal, take a walk in nature, or really try to hone in on your mind-body connection during a workout.
Regardless of how you practice mindfulness, what matters is that you immerse yourself in the present moment, acknowledge how you’re feeling, and grant yourself grace and compassion, says Maria Margolies, a yoga and meditation teacher, Gaiam ambassador, and certified health coach.
It’s also worth noting that there’s no set number of minutes you “need” to meditate for in order to see results. For example, in a recent study published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition, researchers from the University of Waterloo found that participants with anxiety benefited from just 10 minutes of meditation per day. Even five minutes can be a solid start; what’s really important is that you stay consistent with the practice, Victor Davich, author of 8-Minute Meditation: Quiet Your Mind, Change Your Life, previously told Shape.
Once you’ve found a method of meditation that works for you, take your time enjoying the process, and be gentle with yourself on days when the practice just doesn’t serve you. As Philipps wrote: “Baby steps. BABY. STEPS.”
This story originally appeared on Shape.com by Julia Guerra.