Feel More in Tune with Your Body through Mindfulness - dummies

Feel More in Tune with Your Body through Mindfulness

By Shamash Alidina, Joelle Jane Marshall

Being more effectively aware of and tuned into your bodily sensations often occurs when you study mindfulness. Feeling more in tune with your body provides the following benefits:

  • You can begin to calm your mind. Awareness of your body is always in the present moment and offers you an anchor to rest your attention.

  • You can deal with suppressed emotions. By feeling emotions in your physical body, you make it easier to process feelings like anxiety, anger or sadness.

  • You can be more aware of any minor injuries or illnesses and take appropriate action if necessary.

  • You can more effectively ease physical tension that wastes energy and feels uncomfortable.

  • You feel more grounded, centered and present.

  • You become less automatically and negatively reactive to your emotions — if somebody says something hurtful, you notice the feeling in your body and choose your words and action carefully rather than automatically, which is often an unhelpful reaction.

You can use this five- to ten-minute mini body scan meditation before going to sleep, although you can try it anytime of day to help you connect with your body:

  1. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and take five deep, slow breaths.

    Be aware of the physical sensation of each breath as it enters and leaves your body.

  2. Notice the sensations in your feet during one full in-and-out breath.

  3. Be aware of the physical sensations in your lower legs for the next in-and-out breath.

  4. Continue moving your awareness up your body in this way: upper legs, hips and pelvis, lower torso, upper torso, upper arms, lower arms, shoulders, neck, head.

    ‘Feel’ each body part for one full breath cycle (in and out).

  5. Your mind is bound to wander off to other thoughts. When you realize this is happening, kindly and gently, with a smile, bring your attention back to where you left it, moving through your body.

  6. Finish by ‘feeling’ your body as a whole, for a few breaths.

    Experience a sense of affection towards your own body if you can. If you can’t, that’s okay — you can only do your best and see what happens.

Now answer the following questions:

  1. Did you notice any sensations that you hadn’t noticed before? If so, what?

  2. Do you feel more or less connected with your body?

  3. What emotions, if any, did you feel in your body?

  4. Did you dislike any sensations? Can you be a bit more accepting of them? Can you make more space for them to just be there, even though you don’t like them, and see what happens?

  5. What’s your relationship to your body? Through this exercise did you feel a bit more loving towards your body? Or a bit more caring or accepting? Consider whatever words work for you.