Body Awareness to Recognize Stress
In order to diminish the harsh effects of stress and it's possible outcomes we first have to learn how to recognize stress. It is a fact that most people are more aware of their surroundings then of tension within their bodies. Even though, muscle tension is the first sign of stress. Muscles tense up when one is stressed. Differentiating from external and internal awareness in order to separate yourself from physical reaction is also very important.
External awareness focuses around the five senses and the stimuli they pick up. Internal awareness includes sensations like feeling, emotional comfort or discomfort, etc. Most tension in your body is not felt because all of the attention is always focused on the outside. I will show you a way to locate and become aware of your body's tension.
Lets start with focusing on internal versus external awareness:
1. Focus on the outside world as in "I am aware of the neighbor's dog taking care of his business on my front lawn. I am aware of a gentle breeze caressing my face. You get the idea.
2. After you have accomplished focusing on the outside start focusing on your body and your sensations, your internal workings. "I am aware of tension in my back. I am aware of my stomach making scary sounds. I am aware of my big toe cramping up and so forth.
3. Now, several times a day start exercises when you switch back and forth from external to internal awareness. As in: "I am aware of the neighbor's dog doing his business in my front lawn, my jaw starts to lock up." "I am aware of my stomach making funny sounds, I can smell bacon."
4. When used frequently throughout the day, this exercises will allow you to separate internal from external world and give you an appreciation of the difference.
This is the first step in order to become attuned to the interaction of the outside and internal worlds and the effect this interaction has on your body. Tomorrow I will describe Body Scanning and Letting Go of Your Body. Remember, you need to recognize tension and stress, and by recognizing tension and stress you are starting to have an effective system of combating stress and the damages associated with long-term chronic stress.
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