You probably already know what stress feels like. Stress finds us on varying levels. We don’t have to look for it; it finds us. Whereas “rest” is something we must invite into our lives. We, as a society, must initiate rest. We often hear the term “stress,” often in phrases such as, “I’m so stressed out,” “I can’t take all the stress,” or “this job stress is giving me gray hair.” By definition, stress is a term for a biological response to physical or emotional threats, real or imagined, that bring about mental, physical or emotion strain. These mental, physical or emotional strains can lead to significant health consequences in both the brain and body.
Research shows that stress reduction is one of the main benefits of a mindful body scan meditation. Why is that? Because it is a way to release tension you might not even realize you are experiencing.
In this practice, you are guided to direct your attention to various parts of the body. It is easy to become disconnected from our bodies, unable to recognize bodily sensations when they are occurring. We learn in a mindful body scan how to become attentive and present to these sensations. This practice begins the process of cultivating your ability to be aware of and present to what is occurring in the body moment by moment.
In the practice, you will be noticing any aches, pains, tension, or other general discomfort. As you do this, you are learning how you can better manage your discomfort or pain. A typical practice can run about 30-40 minutes or longer. I use this myself every night after I read and meditate. I can still have occasional discomfort with fibromyalgia or chronic migraine at night, so this assists me both physically and mentally.
When we reduce our stress using a tool such as a body scan (there are others), physical benefits can occur like a reduction in inflammation, fatigue and insomnia. It also helps the emotions that arise when we are experiencing stress and related physical symptoms.
Here’s a quick 5-minute scan below. Longer scans are preferred, but even a short practice can be of benefit. I have a few longer versions in the On-Demand Library as well as the aforementioned course.
Original post 8/18/21