In this article, I’d like to introduce Mindfulness work by bringing your attention to your body. We all experience a variety of emotions every day. You may feel anxious, sad, irritable, or joyful. When you’re full of anxiety, or feel like you are in over your head, it’s hard to stay calm and aware of your condition and feelings. In retrospect, you may realize that you were worried or angry at the time, but it’s difficult to realize it right then and there.
In such cases, it is easier to notice your own state and feelings when you use your body senses as a cue. Our bodies and our feelings are connected.
(What is mindfulness?)
(For those who don’t know, check out Introduction to Mindfulness!)
The connection between body and mind
For example, what about when you’re anxious?
You may feel your heart pounding, breathless, chest tightening, cold sweats, and agitation, among other things.
What about when you are angry?
On the contrary, your shoulders may rise with force, your face may become hot, your expression may become grim with a furrowed brow, your teeth may be clenched, and your breathing may become shallow.
In these ways, the body reacts in conjunction with the feelings.
When you’re having trouble staying calm, paying attention to your bodily sensations makes it easier to notice how you’re feeling at the time.
This time, we’re going to try a Mindfulness work called “Body Scan,” which brings your attention to the sensations in your body.
The body scan usually takes 45 minutes, but here is an audio guide for both the 20-minute and 45-minute versions.
Choose the easiest one to work on and give it a try.
How to build a posture
The recommended posture is to lie on your back. Try to lie on a carpet or yoga mat.
If you think you’re going to fall asleep, you can do it by sitting on a chair. If you use a chair, start in a stable position with both feet on the floor, not leaning on the back.
You can try this practice with your eyes closed or keep them open if you feel like you’re going to get sleepy.
(20-minute audio guide)Use the up and down arrow keys to adjust the volume.
(45-minute audio guide)
How did you feel about your first Body Scan? It’s hard to get used to it at first, so it’s recommended that you incorporate it into your daily life. If you felt sleepy this time around, try doing the exercise before lunch or at other times of the day.
As you practice the Body Scan and become more aware of the sensations in your body, you will be able to notice how your shoulders are feeling right now, how your chest feels, how your hands feel, and so on.
When you can look at your state objectively, using your body’s senses as clues, such as “I’m nervous” or “I’m upset because something like this happened to me,” that alone will help you feel better.
Next time I’ll be introducing a work called Self-Narration, which is an application of Mindfulness work.