The Body Scan is a useful 'check in' with your physical body to notice how you experience pressure or stress. This simple activity will make you aware of the impact of people, situations, and even food on your mood, thoughts, energy and physical body.
In the course of a day, distracted by deadlines, personalities, pressure, emotions go unnoticed and end up "living" on our body. What we notice is increased irritability, achiness, tension in the neck or a stiff back. Doing this "Body Scan" brings your attention to how you might be holding on to to people, places or situations.
Follow up the observation with a short, 2 minute, journal entry documenting what you noticed.
With each experience notice:
- When are you energized?
- Does your energy drag after certain meetings?
- Do you end up with tension in your neck, back?
- Scanning your body from the top of your head and moving all the way down to your toes, where do you hold tension?
Start with the count of 4 breathing: breathe in on a count of 4, hold your breath for 4, exhale on 4 and wait 4 seconds before your next breath.
Then, breathing slower and deeper than usual, bring your attention to the top of your head, and scan all the way down your body to your toes. Notice if there is any tightness, tension, body aches. For now, simply observe what you are feeling. Ask:
- Start at the top of your head and scan looking for any tension, aches, tightness, stiffness in your neck, shoulders, back, legs, ankles.
- Are there any emotions trying to come through the tension?
- Are you thirsty, hungry, tired, cranky?
If distracting thoughts show up, go back to the scan and just observe what you are experiencing. During the scan, 15 seconds, you are simply observing. Being able to maintain this discipline of mindfulness will slow down your reactions and increase your awareness.
Now that you have noticed something, go back to that spot and keeping your thoughts neutral, breathe more slowly and deeply than usual into that spot, and repeat, “I release and let go.”
Do this several times during the day. You will do this automatically after a few weeks of practicing this technique.