Updated: Oct 23
Finding inner peace can be pretty tricky, especially these days when we’re faced with so many different existential crises seemingly all at the same time. The never ending stream of bad news can feel quite relentless, which can quickly take its toll on our mental and emotional health and wellbeing if we’re not careful.
This is where mindfulness exercises can really come into their own, helping to anchor you in the present moment so that you can clear your mind of your troubles and emerge feeling refreshed, relaxed and more resilient.
There are lots of different mindful practices you can try but one very effective exercise is the body scan meditation, which can help you reduce feelings of anxiety, reduce your stress levels, take you into a deep state of relaxation, improve your focus, improve your sleep and improve your self-awareness.
I studied this type of mindfulness meditation many years ago when I went on my first Vipassana, 10 silent retreat. Vipassana, is an ancient meditation technique originating in India, is a profound practice centred on the mindful observation of one's breath and bodily sensations. Its primary purpose is to cultivate deep self-awareness and calm. This technique encourages individuals to explore impermanence and interconnectedness, allowing them to gain a clearer understanding of their inner world. It is well-known for its silent retreats and a disciplined approach, enabling practitioners to directly experience the mind-body connection and, ultimately, reduce suffering and find peace.
The thing I love about the Vipassana body scan method is that you can do this kind of meditation anywhere and at any time. Simply get yourself into a comfortable position (either sitting in a chair or lying down) and start by drawing your attention to the breath, letting it slow down as you breathe deeply into your belly.
Keep your shoulders relaxed as you breathe in and out, allowing your belly to expand and contract with each inhale and exhale.
Once you’re tuned into your breath, you can start drawing your attention to your body, starting at your feet and slowly moving up towards your head. Keeping your awareness on the part of the body you are focusing on in each moment. Find your mind wondering off? Bring it back to your knee, chest or nose etc. without judgement or recrimination.
As you bring awareness to each part of your body, notice the various sensations, whether that’s pain, tension or even the feeling of your body on the floor. Pay close attention to areas where you’re holding tension and direct your breath to these areas to help provide them with relief. It's also a great exercise to help with insomnia. Next time you can't sleep, give this meditation a go.
The more you do it, the better you’ll get, so even if you only manage a couple of minutes of meditation at first, persevere and who knows? You could soon be meditating for 30 minutes or more with ease.
This type of mindfulness practice hones your ability to be fully present, enhancing your awareness of the present moment, which really helps lead to reduced stress and anxiety.
I find it also helps you to better understand and manage your emotions, fostering emotional stability and resilience. Something we could all benefit from these days.
If you’d like to find out more about mindfulness and how it can help you, mind, body and soul, get in touch with me today to see how I can help.