Last week's post was about becoming more aware of the things that you do every day without even thinking about them, and the chocolate meditation was a way of practising doing a routine activity consciously. It can be helpful to choose a different activity to pay attention to each day or week (e.g. cleaning your teeth, getting dressed, walking, etc.)
This week’s post is about coming out of your head space and becoming more aware of your body. Not only can it help calm the mind, but it can also help you understand how your thoughts can affect your body and vice versa. So for example, you may find that when you feel stressed your heart beats faster or when you are very hungry your thoughts become negative. Don’t worry too much about that for now, just focus on engaging with your body. The best way to do that is a body scan.
As with any meditation, find a quiet, comfortable environment. For the body scan you will need to be lying on your back with your arms by your side and eyes closed.
- First of all become aware of your breathing.
- After a few breaths, bring your attention to your feet and notice any sensations in them (mine often feel tingly when I try this).
- After a few moments, move your attention to your calves and how they feel (Tired? Achy? Squashed onto whatever you are lying on?)
- Then move your attention to your knees and continue working your way up your body dwelling on each part for a while, gauging how it feels, before moving onto the next, so thighs, buttocks, pelvic area, lower back, upper back, shoulders, arms, hands, abdomen, chest, neck, face and head.
- If your attention wanders, just bring it back to where you left off.
- I often drift off completely, so don’t worry if you do too, just acknowledge it and accept that you probably needed the sleep! At least you had focussed in and relaxed enough to get to that point.
You can practise this too when you have a treatment. Instead of thinking about your to do list or the issues of the day, try to be in the moment and in your body. Ultimately, you will get far more out of it, mentally and physically.
Try to do a body scan at least once every day for the next week. You can take as much or as little time over it as you like. Here is a 15-minute guided body scan if you would find that helpful.