By bringing awareness and acknowledgment to whatever you feel or sense in your body, body scanning can be very helpful in working with stress, anxiety, and physical pain. It helps you to learn what your body does and does not need in order to operate at its full potential.
I was first introduced to body scanning when I suffered a severe physical injury which led to a great deal of pain in my body which I needed to mitigate on a daily basis. Body scanning can reveal a great deal about your life and your coping mechanisms in general. Making it a daily habit can really help you begin to understand how stress and anxiety affect you.
So how do I apply this magical scan of the body to my life?
Firstly set an alarm on your phone once a day (at different times each day so it’s a surprise). When you hear the alarm it’s your cue to start scanning. Begin by simply become aware of physical sensations in the body. Regardless of if you are on the train to work, at your computer, in the shower or eating lunch, stop and bring awareness to your body. Take a breath and scan your body from your head to your toes to check where you may be holding stress, tension or pressure. A common response is clenching the jaw or a stiff neck and shoulders, but find where yours is. Identifying a common spot of tension, stress or congestion in the body helps you to bring awareness to that area and immediately this will help to decrease your overall body tension, improve breathing and lower stress levels.
If you are suffering from stress, anxiety or pain I recommend setting a few alarms throughout the day to get you in the habit and fast track your progress to a healthier and happier body. It’s a great experiment to really understand where you are housing stress, pain and tension in the body. I found this practice incredibly beneficial in helping to return my body to operating more like itself.