(Full) Body Awareness
Body awareness exercises help to relieve stress by allowing us to become more mindful of how our body reacts to external stimuli. It can be a meditative practice that strengthens the link between the mind and the body, allowing you to better modulate the ebbs and flows of both, thus acting as a sort of informal biofeedback monitor.
Become fully aware of the body’s tensions and then release them through visualization.
- Lie down or sit in a relaxed posture and settle into a comfortable state. Breathe in fully and deeply. Slowly pass your mind over your body, sensing each part without thinking about it too much. Find areas of tension or pain that might “speak up” at this time.
- Now, slowly, go through your body, thinking to yourself:
- Does my head ache? Is there tension in my scalp, my skull, my brain, my face?
- Is there tension in my jaw? Do I clench my mouth?
- Are my neck and shoulders tight? Do they ache or feel wound-up?
- And I holding my breath, sighing heavily, clenching my fists?
- Is my heart racing? Do I feel flushed?
- Is there a knot in my stomach? Do I feel slightly ill or bloated?
- Am I unable to sleep or relax? Am I constantly anxious and manic?
Body-based meditation techniques have a long history. Full body awareness exercise integrates this classical posture meditation with visualization and relaxation skills for a complete body-based stress relief technique.
Please don't do this practice if tuning into your body feels uncomfortable or alarming, as it can for people, particularly if they have a history of painful or traumatic experiences.
Full body awareness also works well added to self-hypnosis techniques. While relaxing the body, you can insert the visualization portion of the full body awareness exercise in with the healing white light portion of the self-hypnosis exercise here.