The body, mind and spirit have a complex and intertwined relationship. They are constantly in flux and influencing each other. For example, have you ever noticed that when you experience a strong emotion such as sadness or anxiety, you may develop a headache or a stomachache? Or when you get angry, your heartbeat increases or your muscles tense up? The same connection can be observed for positive emotions. Your body may feel relaxed, or tears of joy may fill your eyes when you are experiencing a joyful moment. This is because your body and mind are in constant communication with each other, following each other’s lead in reaction to stimuli and events around you.
With day-to-day life being busy and at times chaotic, it can often feel as if we do not have the time or space to recognize when our well-being is out of balance. It can be challenging to realize that our physical and psychological states often go hand in hand. Keep in mind that your well-being will fluctuate throughout the day, depending on the environment, your mood and your previous experiences. This is normal and to be expected. Human beings are incredibly adaptable and resilient. Part of managing all forms of well-being is to be mindful of physical sensations that arise with certain thoughts and certain emotions that get triggered with specific physical sensations. By looking at the relationship between body and mind, we can develop tools to improve how we feel and react to our thoughts, feelings and challenges.
Knowing that you have the resources within yourself to find and maintain well-being can be an empowering feeling! Mindfulness is a meaningful perspective to sustain ways of coping with unpleasant emotions and physical sensations.
A body scan is a mindfulness exercise that helps you identify areas of tension in your body and consciously relax by breathing deeply into those areas. It is all about noticing where you carry your emotions. For example, you may notice that fear sits in a tight knot in your chest, or that sadness sits heavily on your shoulders. Having this awareness can contribute to physical and mental relief from stress.
A few things before you get started doing a body scan:
~find a comfortable, safe and quiet space to sit or
~be patient and kind to yourself
~take as much time as you wish for this exercise
~sit in a comfortable chair, with your feet planted
firmly on the ground or lay in a comfortable position on a bed.
~Take a few deep breaths and close your eyes if you wish.
~Bring your awareness first to your upper body, noticing any tension in your head, neck, shoulders, chest and torso. Spend time in each of these areas, being mindful of any pain, discomfort or tension. Notice and acknowledge any emotions or thoughts that come up while doing so.
~When you discover a spot on the body that feels tense or carries emotion, take several deep breaths into that area, focusing your breath into that area only.
~ You may wish to say positive affirmations to yourself at this time, such as “I am sending calming energy into my shoulders” or “I release this tension in my neck”.
~Continue to scan the different areas of your body, including hips, legs, feet and toes. Take deep breaths into any areas that feel tense.
~Again, you may wish to say positive affirmations to yourself at this time.
~Repeat the body scan as many times as you would like
~When ready, slowly open your eyes and bring your awareness back to the room around you.
For other mindfulness exercises you can visit:
To develop more tools to maintain balance and mindfulness in your life, book with one of our counsellors by visiting https://okclinical.janeapp.com/ or by calling 250-718-9291.
Take good care,
MSW Candidate & Practicum Student
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