“A body what? Learn the simple mindfulness technique to improve body awareness and reduce pain”
What is mindfulness?
Our minds have extraordinary powers over our actions. We can learn to harness the power of our subconscious mind, the powerhouse of the brain, through the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness awareness is fundamentally a way of being and accepting moment-to-moment experiences, including physical discomfort and difficult emotions. It is a deep awareness, a knowing and experiencing of life as it arises and passes away in each moment. This awareness involves freedom from grasping and from wanting anything to be different. It simply knows and accepts what is here, now. Mindfulness is about responding to life’s events without conditioned patterns of reacting to an event. It is important to learn to see the world this way, because how you perceive and frame each moment generates the reality for you.
Mindfulness exercises serve to increase awareness of sensations, emotions and thoughts, to provide self-regulation strategies, and to promote healthy and adaptive responses to stress. Mindfulness skills can lead to reduced physical and mental symptoms, behaviour changes, cognitive improvements, enhanced self-management, as well as increased relaxation and acceptance. Mindfulness practices have been shown to alter parts of the brain involved in learning, memory, emotion regulation, and perspective. Therapeutic benefits of mindfulness training have been documented in several clinical populations including chronic pain, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders. Mindfulness practice appears to also lead to positive psycho-biological changes in non-clinical settings.
Body scan as an exercise
A body scan is a common mindfulness exercise that is taught in any basic program. The best part of this exercise is that you get to lie down and not move – I can totally get on board with this type of exercise! The goal of a body scan is zone in or focus on a body part, let’s say your left foot, and allow yourself to experience how this part feels, without trying to change your position, or scratch that itch. You’re just being there with that body part and that’s it. Nothing else matters. You get to be in touch, in synch, and in the know with each part of your body during a body scan. You train the mind to focus its attention on the body and to let go of the tasks that keep us busy. The body scan trains your mind to scan your body with pin point precision, like the left knee, or to a wider and larger area, like the upper half of your body. The body scan can help you change your mindset on how you view the physical sensations of your body and help deepen the mind-body connection.