Mindfulness is about Being.
We are constantly Doing in our lives. We are running from errands to appointments to work and grocery shopping, and the list goes on. Even when we are doing our self-care, it seems to be wrought with multi-tasking. How much quiet, internal, checking in with our body and thoughts are we actually able to do in a day?
What is Body Awareness?
A key component of mindfulness is body awareness. This practice helps us to become more aware of the minor signals (before they become major signals of disease) that the body is giving us on a daily basis. Therefore, we can prevent disease, if we are routinely checking in with our body. Once this skill is developed, it can be done very quickly and in just a few minutes. The time it takes to develop these skills is dependent on how much you are currently connected to your body and emotions.
Body Scanning to increase Body Awareness:
Body scanning entails quietly sitting or lying down and focusing your attention on your body from head to toe. Starting with the toes, you journey through each of the body parts and regions and breathe into the space until you feel their wellness or lack of wellness. You continue to focus on the area until you feel a connection and then move on through your body.
With intention focused on the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, we are able to come into a state of being instead of doing. This technique is shown to have beneficial effects for reducing symptoms of depression and stress, especially due to chronic illness and pain. I take my patients through a demonstration of this during our appointments as needed. To read about more self-care techniques: Click here.
Mindfulness While Eating:
A great way to experience mindfulness and reduce the ability to overeat is by eating a meal in silence and closing your eyes to chew every bite. It is amazing how the experience changes from one of “getting the job done” to an enjoyable experience that is fulfilling on many levels. It also gives the stomach a chance to signal the brain that it is full.
Starting the day with Intention:
A wonderful way to start each day is with a few minutes of quiet time. Settling in to the feeling in your body. Setting intention for your day with your thoughts being focused on what you want to create. It is extremely nourishing to take the time and spend a moment connecting with yourself with loving compassion for all that you do every day.
Continue Mindfulness through the day:
Throughout the day, take a pause to check in. Notice if you are feeling peaceful or anxious. If you are having concerns or worries, imagine your mind as a blue sky and your thoughts as clouds floating by without attachment or judgment. Let them pass by as you watch and bring gentle care to yourself and your emotions.
The more of these techniques that you use throughout each day, the more you will begin to experience an increase in generalized peace throughout your body, mind, emotions and spirit. The more you practice, you will experience Being present in the moment. Invariably, joy will increase as a result. Enjoy every moment. It is all that truly exists.