Disassociation From Emotional or Physical Pain
For many of us, when things get uncomfortable emotionally or physically, we react by moving away from the discomfort. At times this will, in fact, relieve our discomfort. The act of compartmentalizing is exactly that, setting our discomfort aside because we simply have to get on with our day despite our emotional or physical pain.
However, sometimes by ignoring or trying to escape our discomfort, we can create more. The pain cycle is a great example of this. In an attempt to move away from, or ignore the pain we are experiencing, we physically guard, our muscles tense, and because of this our pain increases. It then becomes more difficult to escape and cope with the pain and impacts our day in a big way. By stopping and noticing the sensations of the body, we fully experience the sensations we are finding uncomfortable and we learn to breathe through them. By doing so we lessen the reaction to the pain, no longer guarding or tensing the muscles.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
A body scan meditation is a core practice of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program pioneered by Jon Kabat-Zinn. This meditation is done by laying down in a comfortable position. With this meditation, you will be guided to systematically attune to the sensations in your body while trying to maintain a sense of openness and self-compassion.
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Learn More About Mindfulness Meditation
This type of meditation can support mental wellness, help us to relax, and assist in chronic pain management. In fact, after doing the body scan meditation many people report feeling that their pain is more manageable. Further to that, some people find that after doing the body scan meditation, they are able to relax and fall asleep. This has been my go-to practice when I am struggling to sleep!
Overall, it is a good practice to set aside time to be present with our bodies and ourselves. By doing so we learn to accept, or at the very least breathe through how we feel. When we become acquainted with the sensations in our bodies, we become better connected to ourselves and our bodies. By doing this on a regular basis we learn to better attune to ourselves and live in a way that honours our needs.
It is important to note that for some of us stepping towards our physical and emotional pain can feel very unsafe or overwhelming. Needless to say, I wouldn’t recommend the body scan for all individuals, but for those who are called to try it, it can be a great tool to incorporate into your self-care routine.
If you want to read more about the Body Scan Meditation read this article by Jon-Kabat Zinn Pioneer of Mindfulness in the West click here.
Listen to this Mindfulness Meditation
To learn more about Mindfulness and Yoga, click here.