How to Further Increase Body Awareness to Reduce Stress
I hope you read the post on taking inventory of your body for effective stress recognition and reduction. Today I will delve a little deeper into effective techniques on how to become aware of your body and reduce stress. The two techniques I will elaborate on are: Body Scanning and Letting Go of your Body.
You can do this anywhere were you can close your eyes for 5 minutes. After a little practice you don’t even have to close your eyes anymore. You can do this in the subway, on the bus, while waiting in line at the bank, waiting for the elevator, for healthy food etc. Here is what you do:
Start with your toes and scan your body inch by inch moving up asking the question: “Where are my tense spots?” Should you discover a tense spot, amplify it so you effectively become aware of it. Pay close attention to the muscle groups and muscles in your body that happen to be tense. Then, using your quadriceps as an example, state to yourself, “I am tensing my quadriceps muscle… I am harming myself…I am creating the tension in my body.” Without going further into the subject know that all muscle tension is self -inflicted. When you notice muscle tension, pay close head to your life situation that may cause the tension in your muscles and ways you could avoid or eliminate this tension. It is impossible for a muscle to be both at the same time, relaxed or tense. A muscle can only be in one state at a time. Tense or relaxed. By eliminating tension, we eliminate stress which could turn into long term damage.
Letting go of Your Body
This exercise involves laying down, in bed, on the floor, wherever. Make sure you are comfortable. Pull your feet to your body until the soles of your feet rest flat on the floor. Shift around and about until you are at ease. Now focus on your breathing. With every breath feel the air move through your nose, mouth, throat and finally feel it being dispersed in the lungs. Center your attention on all of your body parts extemporaneous. What body parts are you primarily aware of? Which ones are you less aware of? Pay attention to body parts you notice easily, and the ones which don’t come that easily. Do you notice any other differences? Now focus on all the irritation in your body. Do not let go of this sensation until you are able to describe the discomfort in every single detail. Zoom further in, and become aware of what happens to the discomfort. It is possible it might change. Now, scan your body for any lingering discomfort and reduce the stress with each exhalation. Let go! Imagine breathing out the tension. This should be done for 5 to 10 minutes, then allowing your body to take over.
Not all these techniques might be reasonably useful for you. But give them a shot and see which ones work for you. We are trying to accomplish the creation of an alert system of stress and tension so you can prevent possible problems before they become a major health crisis. Prevention is the key! The beauty about this is with enough practice you will start to automate this process without giving it too much thought. We need to teach our body how to deaL with stress effectively. And this routines are definitely effective.
Up next one of my favorite techniques to almost immediately turn a potentially stressful situation into something more manageable. Correct breathing to increase body awareness and relaxation, to release tension, and breathing for symptom control or release.
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