I had an experience that was a clear reminder of the importance of paying attention to what your body is telling you. I also have a fun 30 second body awareness exercise for you to try. This all came about as a result of being busy in my studio creating some new mindful art works for the new year.
I sat down for lunch the other day and I became aware of tension in my stomach. Where did that come from? I realized that I was anxious to get lunch over with to get back into my studio.I was so surprised to feel the tightness and constriction.
Body sensations and emotions
Body sensations often precede our actual awareness of experiencing a particular emotion. Paying attention to what is going on in your body is an early warning system of emotions that are brewing. As I registered the tension, I took a pause to pay attention and follow the sensation, noting it shift and morph, eventually dissipating to nothingness. I reminded myself be be kind to myself, and not to judge.
Why is this important? Much has been written about the toll stress takes on our bodies. It isn't a question of whether or not you can 'handle it', but rather the debilitating effects of stress over time. The shocking reveal for me was that I had no idea I was stressed until I realized my stomach was screaming out to me and I hadn't been paying attention. My first reaction was, 'how could I possibly be stressed?" Tension occurs in what can seem to be apparently benign situations.
I did a Face Book Live the other day (first time! aack!) to share a 30 second body awareness exercise that will strengthen your body awareness and mindfulness skills. I thought you might want to try it. If you already saw the FB Live and tried it, then by all means free to repeat as the more you practice being aware of you body sensations the better.
Being aware of how you are feeling physically at any given moment is a foundation element of being mindful. Couple this with a perspective of non-judgmental awareness and kindness to yourself as you pay attention and there you are, off auto-pilot and living in the present moment.
You can do the exercise here . I hope you find it as much fun and as revealing as I did.
Remember! Being mindful is not about doing, but rather is about being. So, while there is much to write and talk about when it comes to mindfulness, at the end of the day, it is about you taking moments over the course of your day to drop in and check out how you’re doing. It is also important that you remember to do so in a non-judgmental and compassionate manner.
I'll be curious to hear whether you were able to feel your hand once your eyes were closed. Let me know in the comments or if you have any questions.
PS: I’ve introduced a new FAQ section on my website. I will be updating it regularly with new content. Do let me know if you have a particular question you’d like answered.