In recent weeks amid the Covid-19 pandemic, as jobs, schools, restaurants, hospitals and life as we know it is changing in ways we never imagined, that feeling of loneliness and confusion can be overwhelming. Adding in other household stressors and worrying about a mile-long to-do list that you’ve been unable to get to yet doesn’t help. When everything adds up and piles on top of us, we need to remember to pause for a moment, review and refocus. Keep in mind that we are human and this is an essential step for our continuous growth. According to a new study in the journal Cognition, even brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve one’s ability to focus on that activity for prolonged periods.
As humans, we tend to pride ourselves on being able to multi-task and take on big projects and handle high demands. But, what we often don’t realize is the toll that hustle and work overload can take on our mental and physical well-being. You might even feel ashamed in admitting the fact that you need to take a break, and therefore deprive yourself of your true needs. We all have needs that must be fulfilled to be able to carry on in positive and productive ways. well when he said: “I need you, the reader, to imagine us, for we don’t really exist if you don’t.” His mention of not really existing is so powerful when you think about your stressors in life, your emotions that bring you down or that feeling of “I just can’t”. They’re all make-believe but yet so very real. Knowing this is why I thought I would fill everyone in on a helpful relaxation method that I use myself, and that has been used by others in meditation for thousands of years. It’s called body scan meditation.
It’s a simple form of meditation that allows us to take note of where stress and emotional strain are residing inside our bodies. If you’ve ever heard a massage therapist use the phrase, “Keep your issues out of your tissues”, you know that our bodies react to stress just like our brains do. Which is why it’s important to realize that when we have bodily pain, headaches, tension and the like, we may be able to alleviate some of these symptoms by simply allowing them to be present without reacting to them.
This is where practicing body scan meditation comes in.
Sit quietly or lay down in a comfortable position, and close your eyes.
Take a few deep breathes in and out allowing your body to relax.
Clear your mind by pretending that all the thoughts floating through your mind are written on a whiteboard, and mentally imagine taking an eraser and wiping everything off that whiteboard.
Once your mental whiteboard has been cleared. Take a moment to mentally scan your body starting at the top of your head.
How does your head feel? Do you have a headache? Do you feel tension across your forehead? Whatever you feel – acknowledge the feeling. When we take a moment to recognize the physical presence of things, we mentally accept that they are present. Pretend that each feeling and emotion or thought that you feel as you scan through your body from head to toe are physical things that pretend to hold in your hand. Hold each feeling or ailment for a moment or two with your imagination, and then let it float.
Continue your body scan, noting everything starting with your head, then your forehead, your eyes, your ears, your neck, your right shoulder, then your left. As you work your way through your entire body, you’ll notice your stress releasing. Even though the thoughts are imaginary, giving them the same presence as physical things, and then allowing them to float away allows our minds to clear their presence one by one. I encourage you to explore this mediation technique and think about making it part of your daily routine. Before bed, first thing when you wake up, throughout the day as needed…whatever helps you focus your mind, fuels your growth and keeps helping you reach new heights.
Wisdom comes with the ability to be still. Just look and listen. No more is needed. – Eckhart Tolle