One of the benefits of living in modern times is the increased understanding we have as a culture regarding self-care. More and more, people understand the benefits of regular physical exercise and a healthy, nutritious diet. Lately, it seems that more people are also discovering the positive power of meditation.
People who haven’t explored meditation as a way to practice deliberate mindfulness may be unsure what, precisely, to do. Are you just supposed to sit there with your eyes closed and your legs crossed? For many people who aren’t experienced with meditation, a body scan can be an excellent way to start. You might find that a body scan meditation becomes an invaluable part of your self-care routine.
What Is a Body Scan Meditation?
As the name implies, a body scan meditation involves you sitting in a comfortable (but not too comfortable) position, closing your eyes and examining every inch of your body. Pay attention to any sensations you might experience while scanning your body: heat, cold, tingling, pain, fuzziness, dizziness, discomfort, etc.
A body scan meditation is designed to help keep you grounded in the present moment. It’s meant to direct your mind to your current physical body and let your broader concerns slip away, if only for a few moments. If you take the time to practice this technique on a daily basis, you might soon see several benefits.
Get to Know Your Body
One of the fundamental premises behind body scan meditation is that your emotional states are intertwined with your physical conditions. For example, if you get hungry, you might feel agitated. If you have pain in one of your muscles, you might find yourself less motivated. Recognizing potential physical discomforts and reconciling them with your emotional state is just the beginning of the benefits a body scan meditation can deliver.
Often, when we’re in the grip of negative emotion, we’re partially paralyzed by our body’s response. Taking the time to stop negative emotions in their tracks and performing a body scan meditation allows you to take a mental step backward. Take some moments, think about your physical state of being and enable yourself to process the material impact of emotions, positive and negative.
When you take a few moments to think about your physical condition, you also give yourself a timeout to assess your emotional state from a level-headed perspective. This inevitably creates increased self-awareness and mindfulness in practitioners.
Every day, millions of US residents suffer from some form of chronic pain. Some researchers suggest establishing a routine of body scan meditations; taking the time to face and accept your body’s pain can help sufferers cope with the problem. There’s something about coming to terms with the pain in their body that enables those with painful conditions to function more efficiently.
What’s more, mindful body scan meditations can help you approach recovery from your pain with an open-mind and increased patience. This can help those active people frustrated by the timetable of the recovery to adjust to the pain and move forward appropriately.
Do you consistently find yourself stressed or anxious? You’re not alone. Indeed, a 2017 study from the APA said more than two-thirds of adults surveyed were stressed about something. They worried about money, about their work life, about the country’s future, and so much more. Everyone is stressed about something; not everyone can examine and overcome that stress.
One of the positive takeaways from a body scan meditation is relaxation. By pushing the pause button on your negative emotions and exploring your physical state, you may find your shoulders loosening and a sense of peace taking over.
It’s no secret that everyone needs a substantial chunk of sleep to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Most people suggest eight hours of shut-eye, but some people function perfectly on six. Of course, as we age, various nagging aspects of adult life prevent us from getting the recuperative night’s sleep that we need.
If that sounds like you, you may not have to resort to sleep aids to help get a peaceful night’s rest. Body scan meditations have proven helpful for those people trying to get to rest. As you lie down in bed, focus your mind on calming your body from top to bottom. Take the time to concentrate on every inch and relax each muscle. Putting intense thought into calming your body just might distract you from your nightly, nagging monologue.