Before we kick start learning about the mind-body connection, I want you to connect with your body right here, right now. You could be lounging by the pool, sitting at work, or juggling. Whatever it is, pause and notice your body. Scan your body from your feet, up your legs to your stomach, up to your chest, neck, and tip of your head. Now, take a deep breath in and out. What did you notice? How did it feel to notice your body in that way?
In our busy, nonstop lives, it is so easy to focus on what we are thinking about. When we only notice our thoughts, it can be easy not to notice how we feel. When I say feel, I mean, did your stomach drop when your boss yelled at you? Did your hands start to sweat when you had that tough conversation? These body cues are vital but often go unnoticed. Trauma, stress, anxiety, depression, and many others can lead to symptoms in the body but are often ignored.
The more we pay attention to our bodily cues, the more we understand ourselves. Author Mischke-Reeds stated, ‘When we as humans are out of touch with our bodies, we are out of touch with life.’ Many of us desire to be fully embodied, and many are hearing the word for the first time. Embodiment is when you feel connected and attuned to your basic body awareness. It means feeling our bodies and living fully in our experiences. You actually already practiced a form of embodiment earlier when you did the brief mindfulness practice.
Mindfulness has significantly impacted our society and psychological field these past years. Mindfulness involves turning into the self, observing what is happening within yourself, and becoming your best friend by utilizing the COAL acronym (Curiosity, Openness, Acceptance, Love). An essential aspect of mindfulness is to observe yourself nonjudgmentally to help understand your internal experiences while growing your emotional capacity to feel without becoming overwhelmed. The mindfulness wave has brought us tools to explore, calm the busy mind, and listen to the whisperings of our hearts.
While many therapists incorporate mindfulness practices, you do not need to wait for your therapist to utilize mindfulness skills. You can incorporate them into your daily life by practicing some of the tools listed! All it takes is 5 minutes to connect back with your body and observe it with curiosity, openness, acceptance, and love.
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