Mindfully Reconnect with Your Body
“The body says what words cannot” (Martha Graham)
As Coronavirus restrictions are slowly easing, it can bring with it new stresses such as going back to work, socialising while socially distanced and travelling etc.. What does all this mean for us in our lives? The space between what is known and what is yet to be discovered can leave us feeling overwhelmed about reconnecting with the outside world. But no matter how tiring uncertainty may be, mindfulness can help us recognise those moments when we begin to feel overwhelmed.
Many of us have a strong tendency to live in our heads, losing touch with the body and its ways. We dismiss the body, allowing our thoughts and feelings to dictate our lives. However, our thoughts and feelings are often mirrored in the body. The body scan mindfulness practice provides an opportunity to bring an interested friendly awareness to the way things are without having to do anything or to change things. It involves paying attention to each body part in turn, thereby allowing you to investigate your body through moment by moment experiences. The moment by moment allows you to notice different sensations in the body, for example, tension, tightness, numbness etc. The body scan meditation has been found to be effective for improving well-being, decreasing physical discomfort and reducing stress levels.
This short body scan meditation can be done during your working day. It can be done anywhere you are able to sit quietly and practice—be it your desk, the staff room or a park bench at lunchtime.
Body Scan Guidance
- Begin by bringing your attention to your breath. Notice the sensations of the breath breathing.
- When you’re ready, direct your attention to the soles of your feet, opening your mind to whatever sensations are there to be noticed.
- You may be noticing the pressure on the soles of your feet as they make contact with the floor. Perhaps the soles of your feet feel hot or cool.
- Just notice. No need to judge or engage in a story about the feet. If your mind is pulled away or wanders, redirect your attention, firmly and gently back to the body.
- Move your attention next to the tops of your feet, ankles, lower legs, knees, and so on.
- Continue to gradually scan through your body, noticing sensations, noticing discomfort, and noticing areas of your body where you detect an absence of sensation. Pause to mindfully attend to any discomfort, focussing on the rhythm of your breath as you slowly breathe in and out…allowing any physical discomfort to soften as you slowly exhale.
- No need to search for sensations; just keep scanning through your body, taking your time and being open to what is here.
- As you come to the end of the practice, take a full, deep breath in and out. Return your attention to the present moment.
Ask yourself if taking the time to pause and mindfully check in with your physical state of being is something you can incorporate into your day?
*Please note that Health Services Staffs Credit Union is not an expert on mindfulness techniques and that all above advice is from Denise Coleman, qualified mindfulness teacher and HSSCU scholarship recipient. Any views above are not made on behalf of HSSCU.
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