Being more mindful of the body is something that has fascinated me for a long time. For many years I felt like my body was separate to my mind. It was only when I discovered mindfulness and meditation that I started to understand that cultivating a mindful approach to my body was important for my overall well being.
Do you get up immediately and pop on the kettle for that sweet caffeine, or do you take a moment and allow your body to wake up along side your mind. Feeling your stiff joints, aches and pains. Having a long and meaningful stretch to get the blood flowing again. What exactly is your morning ritual?
This article was written in the hopes that I could provide you with some tools to help you become more mindful of the body. We all have different levels of body awareness. No matter what level you are on I believe that these steps can help you to become more mindful.
We are all trained from a young age to identify with thought. Our education system teaches us that the most important thing you own is your brain. We use everything from the neck up to get through those first academic years, while we slowly forget that our heads are in fact attached to our bodies.
Many people take their bodies for granted everyday. In the world we live in there is a massive disconnect from the mind and the body. People tend to see the two as different from each other. To some of us, our bodies have become obsolete to the mind and only serves as a means to an end.
Thankfully there are steps we can take to become more mindful of the body and it all starts with you. Below are 6 steps you can try that will bring you closer to your body. The more mindful you become of your body the more you will learn about how your body operates, moves and lives.
“If you listen to your body when it whispers, you wont have to hear it scream” – Cherokee Proverb
The first and most important step is to accept your body. You can’t be mindful of your body if you dislike what you see in the mirror. We all have some things about our bodies that we dont like. It’s important to take stock of the things you dislike and try and find a way to work with it.
When I look in the mirror I see many things I dont like, but over the years I’ve learned to make peace with them. Truly loving your body for what it is will take time and patience. Remember that you have to be consistent in your efforts of self love. It is an ongoing process and I still have days where I dislike my body, this is normal.
Stop the negative thinking and start loving what you have. If you constantly hate your body it will stop you from connecting with it. You wont be able to pick up on the messages your body is trying to send you.
Take a moment and think about your body. What are you grateful for? Mobility is something I appreciate. I can move around without any assistance and to me that is a wonderful gift. I remind myself of the things I am grateful for when I am having a bad “body” day.
How does your body feel at different times of the day. Take note of the different sensations you experience in your body like hunger for instance or a niggling pain in your foot. What parts of your body feels weaker or stronger? How do you walk, what is your posture like?
A great exercise to help you take note of your body is called a mindfulness body scan. These scans are short but powerful. Through practicing a body scan you become more connected to your body and you can easily pick up on the different signals it’s trying to send you.
Your body is always trying to talk to you, when we learn how to properly listen we are able to give our body what it needs.
Give your body a bit of exercise! You don’t have to run a marathon but try to get a little bit more active. Go for a walk, play with the dog or focus on stretching often.
Our bodies need physical exercise. Most of us are in a sitting position for the better part of the day. Exercise allows our bodies to unwind and shake off any stress that’s been building up at work or on the drive home.
Mindful walking is a fantastic way to get back in touch with your body. I’ts very simple to do, it’s fun and it’s a great place to start if you are new to being active. Mindful walking gets your body active and it gets your mind in tune with whats happening in your body and in your immediate environment.
Give your body what it needs. Fresh produce and wholefoods will nourish your body properly. When we feed ourselves the right foods our bodies will pay us back in kind.
You could practice mindful eating while nourishing your body. Mindful eating allows us to become aware of not only the food we are eating but how our bodies are receiving the food.
If you are familiar with journaling then this step will come naturally to you. Make a body diary and set up a few times of the day. Breakfast lunch and supper perhaps. Jot down what your body feels like before you eat and after you eat. You could also take notes of how your body feels when you just wake up or right before you go to bed.
I’ve found that keeping a journal of my bodily sensations has given me great insights into whats happening with my body. It is a great tool you can use to start understanding the signals your body is sending you.
Taking on a regular mindfulness practice would be the ultimate goal. The more we practice being mindful the more connected we will become with our bodies.
Whether you are trying out mindful walking, mindful eating or perhaps a sit down meditation, be consistent. Like most things in life if you want to get better at something you have to do it over and over again. Mindfulness is no different.
The more you practice mindfulness meditation the stronger your body awareness will become. There are a slew of benefits mindfulness brings to the table, all you have to do is try it out.
Your body doesn’t become a means to an end anymore, mindful healing can begin while you operate and move around the world as one being. There will be days when you will be out of touch with your body and that’s OK. Remember that being mindful is not a competition and nobodies perfect. You just have to continue to do the best that you can.