This post is an excerpt from my upcoming e-book “How to Create Your Own Action Plan for Recovery“. If you want to stay updated on the release of the book, sign up for weekly newsletters from The Health Sessions here.
All day long, your senses are bombarded with information – sights, sounds, smells. Your brain is constantly busy selecting and interpreting these stimuli, storing what’s important into your long – term memory.
Turning your attention inwards instead of to the world around you has several benefits for your health.
Brain studies suggest that observing what’s happening inside of you – your thoughts, emotions and physical sensations – taps into a different part of your brain than watching the outside world does. Instead of solely relying upon the frontal lobes of the neocortex, focusing on your feelings also activates evolutionary older parts of your brain that are associated with emotional reactions and the integration of physical experiences. It’s that bypass of the thinking and judging parts of your brain that makes mindfulness such an effective method to find your calm when you can’t seem to stop your racing thoughts.
Learning to tune into your body also allows you to pick up signals of stress, pain and exertion before these symptoms become (too) serious.
A mindful body scan is a powerful way to get in touch with your body and really notice what you’re sensing, without judging or trying to change what’s happening within. At first glance, a body scan might seem like you’re just lying down doing nothing. But it involves a little more than that. Because while your body is resting, your mind goes on a guided tour from your toes to your head, pausing at each part and paying attention to what you’re feeling.