Mindful Mondays Series Part Two: Being Mindful with Body Scans

Mindful Monday Series Part Two: Being Mindful with Body Scans

Welcome back to my Mindful Monday Series! If you haven’t had a chance to check out the rest of the Mindful Monday series, check out last week’s post here!

Technology is pretty amazing right? We have wearable technology that tracks everything from our steps to our heart rate. We have apps to remind us to drink water and when to go to bed. I have a love-hate relationship with wearable tech. It has made much of my life more convenient and helped me become more mindful about lifestyle choices. But I, like many others, have at times become too reliant on technology to monitor how I am feeling. People are forgetting the art of listening to their bodies to tell them what they need.

Technology takes us away from the moment. It puts our intuition on the back burner and we face a new problem: checking. Checking your steps, your heart rate, and your calories, which then turns into checking Facebook, Instagram, and then checking everything all over again because that’s the way the cycle goes! Don’t get me wrong; I think there is a time and a place for wearable technology and I still use it myself! However, like most things in life, technology is best used in moderation.

Remember when iPhones first came out? Remember the ads? “There’s an app for that.” And there literally is an app for just about anything you can think of. I thought it was absurd that people would want apps for things like counting how many glasses of water they drank in a day. Guess who downloaded that app? This girl. You know how long I used it? Maybe a week. Then I was back to feeling guilty that I couldn’t keep the habit of monitoring my water intake. There’s that cycle again.

Tuning into your body

People sometimes feel like mindfulness is too daunting of a task, and technology is easy. But let me tell you, the more you practice mindfulness, the easier it gets! When I discovered being mindful, it was like finding this whole new way of checking in each day.  In time, you’ll start noticing patterns and you’ll have a keener sense of what you need. You may start your  practice at 5-10 intentional minutes a day, but eventually it becomes as natural as breathing.

The first mindfulness activity I ever learned was the body scan. It is an incredibly simple tool to help you check in with yourself and see how you’re doing, no tech required. A body scan is just checking in with each part of your body. When you use body scans, you’ll gain awareness into lots of different things: muscle tension that may signal stress, heart rate that may signal anxiety, and so on. The goal here isn’t to change your life circumstances really. Instead, it’s to help you become aware of life’s toll on your body! Here is how I do a body scan. Feel free to adjust this activity to work for you!

Body Scan

  1. Get in a comfortable sitting or laying position. Feel free to close your eyes or not. Take a minute or so to pay attention your breathing. You may notice that you are holding your breath, or breathing shallowly. Relax into your breath by taking a few slow breaths in through your nose and then out through your mouth as if you’re blowing up a balloon.
  2. Start by focusing on your feet. Are they warm or cold? You may notice some soreness in the soles of your feet. Maybe you’re wearing cozy slippers.
  3. Let’s move up to your legs.  Are you feeling warm or cold? Maybe you’ll notice some muscle tension here. Maybe you feel good!
  4. Notice your hands in your lap. Are your fists clenched? Are your hands clammy? Check in with your thoughts or emotions to gain insight into what might be going on.
  5. Pay attention to your gut. Are you hungry or full? Is your stomach upset, content, or bloated?
  6. Move to your chest now. Pay particular attention to your heart. Is your heart pounding or racing? What about your breathing? Take a second to see if you can calm your heart and breath.
  7. Let’s focus on your shoulders and neck now. For many people, this is where they hold the most tension. Shrug your shoulders around. Roll your neck. Release the tension. This might be a good place for you to check in with your thoughts and feelings again. Can you think of anything that may be causing tension?
  8. Notice your face. Is your jaw clenched? Face hot? Eyebrows furrowed? What’s going on in your body that may be causing that tightness? Or if you’re feeling calm, notice that too. What thoughts and feelings are you having that are making you feel peaceful?

That’s it guys! 8 easy steps later and you just practiced your first mindfulness activity with me!

So fill me in! What came up for you that you weren’t aware of before? Leave me a note in the comments!

 

Mindful Mondays Series Part Two: Being Mindful with Body Scans

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  • Alissa Carpenter

    I just did the body scan and this was so helpful and thanks for breaking it down step by step

  • The checking cycle is seriously the worst! I bought an Apple watch a couple months ago and I honestly feel like it’s helped me disconnect, as weird as that sounds. I guess it’s because I don’t feel like I have to have my phone next to me all the time which keeps me away from all of the apps I usually get lost in. I’m totally going to try the body scan when I get home!

    • Yes that is why I like my fitbit because it keeps me from checking my phone for the same stuff. There is definitely a time and a place, and I know for myself personally, some tech stuff can get me caught up in the cycle of checking and it defeats the purpose. Glad your apple watch has been helpful for you!

  • Jessica Roche

    Gosh, technology can be such an energy suck! Really really solid idea to ground back into the body with scans, yes, it felt very calming and helpful simply to read the instructions! Phew…thank you!

  • Lisa

    I’ve been starting to meditation however ironically I’m using the Headspace app ha. It talks about body scans though.

    • Yeah! I use Insight Timer for my meditation because I’m frugal haha. Like I said, I think there is a time and place for technology in mindfulness and I’ve found it is super helpful with meditation especially for beginners!

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  • I love this! I’m always trying to think of ways to calm myself and be more aware. I’m going to integrate this practice into my bedtime routine!

  • This is so great! I actually do something similar if I’m having trouble falling asleep – just relaxing each part rather than checking in if that makes sense!

    • Makes perfect sense! Before I knew what mindfulness was, back when I was little, that’s what my mom taught me to do to fall asleep. 🙂