Relaxing from Head to Toe: The Mindful Body Scan | The Health Sessions

Relaxing from Head to Toe: The Mindful Body Scan

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.

Read more >Relaxing from Head to Toe: The Mindful Body Scan



10 Empowering Quotes to Help You Through Tough Days

10 Empowering Quotes to Help You Through Tough Days | The Health Sessions

 

Life isn’t always a picnic in the park.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you find yourself struggling to make it through the day. And that’s nothing to be ashamed about – frustration, sadness and despair are a natural and inevitable part of life.

But if you could use a little pick-me-up, soak up these words of wisdom from beloved authors and word leaders to help you get through the tough times.

Read more >10 Empowering Quotes to Help You Through Tough Days



6 Surprising Things That Spoonies and Olympic Athletes Have in Common

6 Surprising Things Spoonies and Olympic Athletes Have in Common | The Health Sessions

 

It’s hard to think of two more obvious extremes: the chronically ill versus Olympic athletes.

They find themselves at the opposite ends of the health spectrum: one struggling to do the simplest everyday activities, whereas the other is the embodiment of strength and fitness.

But if you look closer, you’ll find that spoonies and Olympic athletes have some surprising things in common.

 

Read more >6 Surprising Things That Spoonies and Olympic Athletes Have in Common



A Spoonie's Struggle for Independence | The Health Sessions

A Spoonie’s Struggle for Independence

Independence.

It’s a virtue sung by Beyoncé. A theme of many Hollywood blockbusters. Fiercely fought for on the battlefields and barricades, in the streets or the privacy of your own home, independence is the hard-won right to make your own life choices and the quality to look after yourself with limited help from others.

In our culture, self-sufficiency is synonymous to strength, empowerment and liberation. Unfortunately, it’s also an issue most people with chronic illness and disabilities struggle with on a daily basis.

The loss of independence in long-term sickness or disability can take many forms. From being housebound and having to rely on state benefits for financial support to needing help with grocery shopping, doing chores around the house or driving to doctor’s appointments.

Having to dependent on others for your most basic needs can have a huge impact on your daily life, self-image and relationships.

Read more >A Spoonie’s Struggle for Independence



Living with Endometriosis: Sophie on Pelvic Pain, Periods and Peaks | The Health Sessions

Pain, Periods & Peaks: On Living with Endometriosis

What’s it really like to live with chronic illness every day? How do you deal with the physical symptoms, emotional turmoil and practical problems? In this interview series, real life ‘spoonies’ share their stories and tips.

Sophie is a student mental health nurse who suffers from endometriosis. She is currently training to hike the Yorkshire Three Peak with her husband to fundraise for Endometriosis UK.

 

Tell us a little about yourself.

 I’m Sophie, just a few weeks away from turning 30 and I’m a student mental health nurse. I have endometriosis and recently started running an Endometriosis UK support group.

 

When did you first get sick?

For anyone who is unfamiliar with endometriosis, it is a condition affecting 1 in 10 women where cells similar to those lining the uterus grow outside of that area, often in other parts of the pelvis such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder and bowel. These cells react in a similar way to those lining the uterus, responding to hormonal changes in the body and bleeding when a women is on her period, causing chronic inflammation.

Endometriosis can cause chronic pain, heavy and prolonged periods, bladder and bowel problems, fatigue and infertility. There are treatments available to manage the symptoms, but there is no cure. It’s important to note that symptoms vary considerably and no two women will have the same experience or response to treatment.

Read more >Pain, Periods & Peaks: On Living with Endometriosis