This week’s blog post is very much about bringing together everything that you have done so far:
- Paying attention to the here and now
- Re-engaging with your body to become aware of physical sensations
- Observing them without trying to do anything about them (being, not doing)
- Seeing negative thoughts as symptoms of stress, not facts.
And we build on that to become aware of the physical manifestation of stress and negative thoughts.
Over the next week try doing an experiment on yourself to observe how stress and negative thoughts affect your body:
- Start by meditating on your breathing for a while
- Then scan through your body, noticing any sensations, but not trying to do anything about them
- When you are ready, bring to mind a current problem
- Deliberately dwell on it without trying to solve it
- Now shift your attention to your body
- Notice any new sensations (for example you may notice your breathing change or your heart rate quicken)
- Observe any new sensation even if it doesn’t seem linked to your thoughts (for example a tingle in a toe)
- Now let that negative thought go and focus on your breathing again until any of the new physical sensations have dissipated.
Allow at least 10 minutes for this practise.
For a guided version of this meditation click here.
Do the same meditation each day, preferably bringing a different issue to mind each time. It doesn’t have to be a big problem, anything remotely troubling will do.
This exercise can be helpful in two ways:
- It can prevent negative thoughts spiralling out of control by being aware of them without getting caught up in solving them.
- By linking negative thoughts to physical sensations it demonstrates how thoughts are also symptoms of stress, not facts.
Over the next two weeks I will look at the opposite: how positive thoughts and actions can affect you. Holistic massage and shiatsu acupressure & body work are strongly linked to that.
I wish you a happy and healthy New Year!