We tend to notice things around, us such as the weather, the traffic, the environment we are in but we forget about the body we occupy. Have you ever noticed how when you are stressed your body feels all tight and wound up? That is because we carry our emotions within our body.
It can be difficult to just relax, sometimes it can even causes physical pain. I’ve had days when I have been so busy to even sit down. When the time does come to relax I find it physically painful.
The body scan or body sweep has helped me numerous times. It may be helpful if you have had a busy day and you need to relax, or even when you are trying to fall asleep but are restless. The benefits are endless of mindfulness but you have to choose what is right for you.
I would suggest doing this in an environment where you feel safe to lie down, I prefer to do this before I go to sleep. Where ever you are, find a comfortable place and don’t forget to get a blanket incase you feel cold or drift off to sleep.
While lying down notice the contact your body makes with the floor or bed. Is it hard or soft? are you comfortable?
Closing your eyes, take a few deep breathes in and out letting your body relax slightly each time you exhale. This helps me because if I relax all my body all at once I do feel pain especially in my lower back.
Check in with yourself? how are you feeling? are you agitated, relaxed or even just sleepy? allow yourself to feel however you are. Did you have any expectations about this method? if so let them go as it will feel different each time.
Now scanning the body begins from your toes. Bring your attention to them, what do you feel? hot, cold or tension? Notice it and let it go.
Then shift your attention to your feet. Are you feeling any sensations? Just be aware of them and let it go.
Continue to ask yourself what are you feeling, as you scan up your body slowly, your ankles, lower legs, knees, thighs and continue. You’re noticing any sensation you may have and then letting it go.
I imagine a knot that is tied and when I see myself letting go, the knot unfolds. Each time you exhale imagine tugging on the knot to open it. Up to your lower back, Belly. Your chest, shoulders, upper back. Scanning all till you reach your head.
The idea is that you are seeing how each part of your body feels, not trying to change it, but recognising it and the image of the knot just unfold.
Its normal for our thoughts to drift away if they do just bring it back to your body.
As you finish scanning just notice you’re breathing, as you inhale how your body moves, in and out with each breath. Take a moment and enjoy the silence.
I found it difficult at first to get into the mindset of trying to do this alone. So I enlisted the help of an app called Calm. There are many sleepcasts that guide you through this process and the ones I used were for free.
Once it became part of my routine I then started doing it without the help of the app.
In the book by Kim Davies called Pause, there is a section where you can journal how you felt doing this exercise. The method of journaling can help you gain a more better insight into your experience and reflect on a deeper level.
Mindfulness is a conscious effort to recognise what is going on within you. Life is busy as it is, so don’t put pressure on yourself and its okay to recognise that now might not be the right time for you. But when it is, take a moment and try to reconnect with yourself, your body and your feelings.
Let me know how you got on, did it work? Did you fall asleep or did it not work for you? Leave a comment below.