THE BODY SCAN
The Body Scan meditation is a practice where we focus our attention on different parts of the body. It reminds us that our mind and body are linked and feelings of stress and anxiety are not only expressed in our thoughts but in our bodies too - like a tight chest, butterflies or sweaty palms. It is important to pay attention and listen to these messages from our bodies as they can be early warning signs of anxiety and stress approaching.
With practice, the Body Scan can help us reduce stress, increase concentration and foster a sense calmness. There is also research showing that with prolonged practice of the Body Scan we can develop a kinder and more compassionate attitude towards ourselves and others.
Tips For The Body Scan
Whatever happens, if you fall asleep, lose concentration or keep thinking about things don’t worry, keep going! These are your experiences in the moment. Try, as best you can, to be aware of them, just as they are.
If your mind wanders a lot, note where it has gone and then bring your mind gently and compassionately back to the body scan.
Try to let go of ideas around ‘success’ and ‘failure’ or ‘doing it really well’. It is not a competition. It is not a skill to strive for. The only discipline involved is regular and frequent practice. Just do it with an attitude of openness and curiosity.
Let go of any expectations about what the body scan will do for you. Imagine it is a seed you have planted. The more you poke around and interfere with it the less it will be able to develop. So with the body scan, just give it the right conditions – peace and quiet, regular and frequent practice. That is all. The more you try to influence what it will do for you, the less it will do.
Try approaching your experience in each moment with the attitude: “Okay, that’s just the way things are right now”. If you try to fight off unpleasant thoughts, feelings, or body sensations the upsetting feelings will only distract you from doing anything else. Be aware, be in the moment, and accept things as they are.
Alexander James is a Mindfulness-Based Therapist and Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist helping clients overcome addictions, stress and anxiety disorders.
Appointments are available at various clinics across Central London including:
1 Harley Street, Bank, Canary Wharf, Notting Hill, Wimbledon and outside London at the Cowdray Therapy Rooms in West Sussex.
I also offer home visits and Online consultations.
Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person.