As we go through our regular daily routines there are times we can feel “off” but because we are so conditioned to “plow through” we may not take time to understand why we are feeling the way we are feeling. However, self-awareness is important and helps us function at a higher rate. This is where taking the time out of our busy days to perform a body scan meditation can be helpful to our overall wellness.
A body scan meditation involves paying attention to your body one part at a time and taking time to notice various sensations you may be feeling. By mentally scanning yourself and taking notes, you are bringing awareness to yourself (an important part of selfcare)—noticing any aches, pains, tension, or general discomfort.
Regularly performing a body scan meditation can reduce stress according to research and can trickle down to other mental and health benefits such as reduced inflammation, less fatigue and insomnia.
How to Perform a Body Scan Meditation
1. Find a spot where you can be comfortable. Lying down is the most ideal position to participate in a full body scan—especially if you are doing this before falling asleep. However, not everyone can be comfortable lying down and there may be times where you can’t (at work) and sitting may be more appropriate. Whatever position you choose make sure you are in a quiet location where you can relax and focus.
2. Start Breathing. Slow it down and take it from your belly letting your abdomen expand and contract with each breath. Think of it like inflating and deflating a balloon. The whole point is to get deep breaths that will really get you to relax and unwind.
3. Bring your focus to your feet. Start being aware of your feet and how they feel. Acknowledge what you are feeling whether it’s pain, tingling or just any thoughts and emotions you may be having. Follow through with what you are feeling and breath.
4. As you move through your exercise make sure you continue to breath. If you notice any uncomfortable sensations focus your full attention on them and breath into them. Visualize any tension or pain leaving your body as you breath. Feel free to continue moving through your body when you are ready.
Use these steps for your entire body anytime you feel stress coming on. This practice can be done once a day or even several times a day—whatever you see fit. If you are short on time you can also do an abbreviated version where you just try to pay attention to areas you are carrying tension.
Remember, stress is a natural part of life and unavoidable, but learning to manage it so it doesn’t overtake your life is important. A full body scan meditation is one really great way to alleviate daily stress so that you not only feel better, but perform better too.