By: Eike Daube
Hello Incredible Human being,
Thank you for taking the time to read and grow with me today!
My name is Eike I am a mental health practitioner based in Southern California I am also the creator of the Mind Body Initiative. Before I became a mental health practitioner, I was an athlete for most of my life. My body and mind experienced a lot of ups and downs throughout the endless trainings, competition, and travel.
A large emphasis of my practice with clients and in my own life has been focused on the mind body connection. Our mind’s generate thoughts and emotions and each one will signal specific types of hormone production. Our bodies will record every thought and emotion into our autonomic nervous system. After elongated periods of heightened stress (fight, flight or freeze), depression, anxiety our bodies will begin to communicate to us that we need to make changes. This communication will become noticeable through muscle tension, breakouts, weight gain, irregular heartbeat, and in more extreme scenario’s ulcers, cardiac arrest, cancer, paralysis. This is why talking to someone, self-care, mindfulness, working out, eating well, developing an ongoing practice for yourself is so important.
Mindfulness based Stress Reduction (MBSR), which is an evidence-based research intervention used all around the world in various wellness settings. The benefits of mindfulness are immense. The practice of mindfulness works on cultivating awareness within the mind and body (Stahl, 2018). It is an important practice in many spiritual belief’s Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Taoism. Mindfulness has pushed through spiritual beliefs, into psychological practice, as well as seminars.
Mindfulness when used routinely can have a profound impact on your well-being. Not only is it important with everything that is going on in the world now, it is going to continue to develop your awareness of self; internally and externally.
I thought I would walk you all through one modality used within MBSR called body scan meditation this practice really focuses on the mind and body connection that I have mentioned.
Before you dive into a body scan meditation, I want you to ask yourself a few questions:
1. Are you open to trying something new that can help improve your day to day well being?
2. Are you willing to take 20-40 minutes for yourself?
3. Are you willing to develop a sense of ease within your own discomfort?
4. Are you sick of feeling overwhelmed and run down?
5. Do you want to develop a deeper understanding of yourself?
Now that you have answered those questions and decided to continue reading this article. I would like to acknowledge that you have taken one step closer to growing and developing yourself…. You are doing better than you even realize!
The Body Scan meditation is a deep investigation into the moment-to-moment experiences of the body. The body scan can be very helpful in working with stress, anxiety, and physical pain (Stahl, 2018).
This is a practice that can be done as often or as little as you would like. Continued practice and commitment will of course provide the most change, however, take your time, be kind to yourself, and see where this practice can really take you.
“People don’t understand that the hardest thing is actually doing something that is close to nothing.” (Abramovich).
There will be three types of sensations to take note of during the exercise: pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral. These will help you better understand your physical sensations growing your awareness. As you practice more the sensations may present themselves to be more complex.
Following the exercise there will be a few questions you can ask yourself….
Now that you understand a little more about Mindfulness and Body Scan Meditation, I would like you to engage in the practice yourself. You are welcome to come back to this recording at any time.
Begin by finding a comfortable position (sitting, lying down, standing) in a space you feel safe and relaxed. Allow yourself to gradually acknowledge your breath for a moment noticing the rise and fall. Now allow your eyes to slowly close as you begin to listen… (the following recording is read from the Jon Kabat Zinn)
Congrats you have now completed a Body Scan meditation!! If you enjoyed this exercise and think it is something you would consider doing again there are a couple things to note before moving forward:
1. How was your experience of relaxation? (Frustrating, enjoyable)
2. Did you find new areas of tension you didn’t know existed?
3. Did you fall Asleep? If so, can you recall when you might have fallen asleep? (see if this repeats itself in your next session)
4. Did your pain or anxiety increase? What did you realize?
5. Did you feel any overwhelming emotions?
As you continue to practice your Body Scan meditation you will grow your awareness and advance through these three steps.
Step 1: Investigating Pain and tension in the body
Step 2: Working with the emotions in physical pain
Step 3: Living in the present moment
If you want to gain a deeper understanding of these steps, I have attached resources for your convenience below!
Thank you for learning and growing with me today I hope you found the body scan mediation enjoyable for the most part. If you did not find this to be effective maybe, ask yourself why you have some reservations or why you may be resistant to the practice. There is no wrong answer, where you are today in your wellness journey is exactly where you are meant to be!
Sending you all love and joy!
Additional Body Scan Resources: