If you have ever read anything about mindfulness or had any interest in the subject, there’s a good chance you might have heard of the ‘body scan’ technique. For those who haven’t heard of this exercise, it’s a great introduction to mindfulness and also a great way to strengthen your mind/body connection.
This exercise is also a fantastic way to see just how much you miss by being too inside your own head and forgetting to be present. Read on to give it a try…
The Body Scan
The idea of the body scan is to help bring your attention to your own body, your surroundings and the simple experience of ‘being’. It will take you out of your own head and show you just how much sensory information is coming in at any time.
To begin then, bring your attention to your breath and focus on it with each breath inward and outward.
Continue this for a few minutes and as you do you might notice your mind starts to drift. Don’t punish yourself for this, simply make a note of how your mind is working and then bring it back to your experience.
Eventually, you should start to notice other sensations throughout your body. You may notice the feeling of your buttocks on the floor or chair for instance. Perhaps you can feel the light breeze on your skin. Maybe you can feel a slight tension in the muscles of your back.
Gradually expand your awareness to encompass your entire body and then further to encompass the environment around you. Try and listen for sounds in the distance and be aware of how many sounds you can pick up. Don’t engage with them, just be aware of them and be constantly aware of your breathing.
To extend this to true mindfulness, you’re next going to expand your mindfulness even further – this time to encompass your own thoughts so that you’re aware of them drifting through your mind like clouds. As with the external sounds earlier, the aim here is not to engage with those thoughts – simply to observe them in a passive manner without assessing or judging them.
If you’re interested in trying this exercise but not sure how to go about it yourself, you can find a number of body scan ‘scripts’ online that will talk you through the process.