How do you feel when you’re stressed? Maybe your muscles tense up. Maybe your neck and shoulders ache. And maybe you ignore the physical feelings and plough on – like so many of us. Body scan meditation is a simple way of staying mindful and keeping stress in check. Want to know more? We’ve got everything you need to get started. Let’s launch straight in.
What is body scan meditation?
Mindfulness can be very simple and really challenging at the same time. Especially when it comes to building healthy new habits, it can be hard to know if you’re doing it ‘right’. Body scan meditation is a great way to check in with how you’re feeling, physically and mentally. Kind of like a guided tour of you. And a great way to get in the mindfulness habit.
How does it work?
Find a comfortable position sitting or lying down. Start with a few deep breaths. Then imagine that your breath is moving through different parts of your body. Start with one foot and move your attention (and your breath) slowly up and across to different areas.
Notice the sensations in each area. Pay attention to whether you feel hot or cold, comfortable or uncomfortable, tense or relaxed, light or heavy. You don’t need to change anything; in fact it’s best to resist the temptation. Simply note the feeling and move on to the next area when you’re ready. If you find it helpful, you may like to imagine a laser scanner moving over your body.
There are lots of guided meditations to get started with, too. And we have several for you to try (for free, of course.) Head over to our resources page today.
What can it do for me?
“Our life is shaped by our minds: we become what we think.” Wise words. It’s true: our thoughts do shape our reality. This idea is at the core of mindfulness meditation. The good news is that we can start changing our situation simply by tuning in to our thoughts.
Body scans help you to become more aware of your mind, spirit and body. The experience can be deeply relaxing. No wonder that studies show that meditation reduces insomnia. And it can help sufferers of chronic pain, too.
And who wouldn’t like to take the heat out of the family bedtime routine? Body scan meditation for kids is a great exercise to share with your little ones. It can help your child to relax and find sleep. And it sets them up for healthy sleep habits in the future.
Thinking of giving it a try? We’d love to hear how you get on. Please share your experiences in the comments below.
And if you’re interested in more ideas for getting in the mindfulness habit, we’ve got you covered. Our Thirty Days of Mindfulness course has them in spades. Find out more.