Truth is, in the world today, stress is all around you. From when you wake up to the time you’re sleeping, there’s always one or more things looking to stress you. Unfortunately, many people have gotten so used to this stress that is leading to mental and physical conditions.
You’ve likely met a few people who say they operate better under stress. Sure, there are times when stress can help you perform better at specific tasks.
For example, when you’re running late to finish a work project and time is on your side, you can start getting stressed out. However, in such a case, the brain produces hormones such as adrenaline that push you to finish the job.
However, these instances are not meant to be long-lasting. As with anything else, a surge in hormone production can prove fatal for your body. To best illustrate this, let’s look at one particular hormone. The subject hormone is called cortisol; you may also know it as the stress hormone.
While it does get a negative rapport, cortisol is actually beneficial for the body. It has been linked with an array of benefits ranging from regulation of your blood sugar levels, reinforcing your heart muscles, and regulating your blood pressure.
However, when you live a constant state of stress, then the brain releases extra levels of cortisol. This is why the hormone is referred to as the stress hormone.
Now, unfortunately, the world today has been made to look at every condition to require medicine. Whenever you suffer from a headache or any condition, you run to the hospital and get some medicine.
There is nothing wrong with getting medication; in any case, if you feel you’re unwell, you should consult a medical professional. Nonetheless, not every headache needs pills.
Stress is one of the most common conditions today. Are there ways you can overcome stress without necessarily turning to medication? Well, yes, there are several no medical stress relievers. (Further reading: 6 Helpful Tips on How to Relax Your Mind and Body from Anxiety)
One of the most common ones is body scan meditation. You may be asking what is body scan meditation, how to practice it, and its benefits. Worry not, here is your comprehensive guide and body scan meditation benefits.
Related reading: 3 Basic Mindfulness Practices with Scientific Background. – Opens in new tab
What is body scan meditation?
Body scan meditation is a form of meditation where you focus attention on the physical sensations of the body. Simply put, it is a process where you scan every inch of your body in a detailed manner. In the process, you focus on every inch of the body.
The purpose of scanning your body is to notice what is being experienced in your body keenly. This includes all the body’s systems, such as the skin, bones, digestion, and internal organs.
Body scan meditation is a great way to learn about your body’s self-awareness and how your emotions are tied to physical experiences.
For most emotions you experience, there’s a way the emotion resides in your body. By being attentive to the body and flow of information, you start learning how to respond to the physical–and emotional cues and their correlated cognition better.
So, how exactly does the body benefit from this? Here are some of the body scan meditation benefits you’ll experience.
1. It helps you regulate your stress levels
As mentioned above, there’s some level of stress that helps you. A good example is the aforementioned stress of not finishing a work assignment on time.
Unfortunately, most people live in this cycle, moving from one stressful scenario to another. As it turns out, chronic stress can lead to death.
While you may think you’re not that stressed, it has also been linked to multiple other conditions and illnesses. One of the best ways to reduce stress is through mindful meditation.
When you regularly meditate, you teach your mind to effectively and efficiently respond to stress. Instead of reflecting on or battling stressful thoughts and feelings, you’ll learn to focus on the source of the stress and eventually overcoming the power stress has over you.
2. Scan meditation helps you feel more grounded
Have you ever been in a conversation, but your mind was far from it. There are many cases when people genuinely find it hard to focus on.
Perhaps you’re in class, and an important lesson is being taught, while you may try hard to concentrate, you may find your mind floating away. This can be frustrating, and no matter how hard to try, you just find yourself ‘zoning out’ and going to another realm.
With body scan meditation, you’ll learn how to get your mind away from the external noise and focus. Over time, this will help you control your thoughts and keep your mind from wandering.
Additionally, when you are meditating, you’ll focus on every part of your body. If there are any aches or pains, you’ll be able to take action before they develop into something serious.
3. Body scan meditation builds affection and self-love
So many times, people tend to be focused on how others look and the body parts they wish they could have. For example, you’ll see people ogling over models and the way they look or admiring other people’s Instagram photos.
While there’s nothing wrong with admiring another person or the kind of body features they have, most of the time, people forget themselves. You may be so focused on having the body of another person that you forget and neglect your own.
During body scan meditation, you’re forced to focus on your body. More importantly, you’re forced to take note of every inch of your body. This helps you gradually begin to notice certain areas of your body, and appreciate your features.
It is, however, worthwhile to mention that some people do not feel comfortable with a particular body feature. Well, mindful meditation can also help you. Look at it this way; if you think you’re not in shape, this is what you’ll likely be feeling every time you’re ‘scanning’ your body.
As a result, you’ll probably be more conscious about proving your body through methods such as working out, jogging, lifting weights, and so forth. In the end, you’ll either love yourself or appreciate your body, or you’ll work hard to get to the body you desire.
That being said, it is essential to mention that how people view you is not as important as how you see yourself. If you feel comfortable in the way you look, you should not let others define how you should look, or what some of your body features should look like.
Being swayed by other people and their opinion can actually lead to more stress, thereby undoing the mindful meditation progress. (Further reading: 10 Practical Ways to Stop Worrying What Other People Think)
Alright, now you know what body scan meditation is and how it can benefit you, the next question probably is whether there’s a body scan relaxation script.
Fortunately, the answer is a resounding yes; there’s a proven body scan relaxation script that works effectively whether you’re just beginning or you’ve been at it for years.
Here’s a body scan relaxation script for you
1. Start by bringing your mind’s attention to your body. Try and lockout any external noises and disturbances or even distracting thoughts.
2. If you are in a comfortable space, you can now close your eyes. The eyes as some of your most reliable senses. Whenever you see something, your brain automatically tries to interpret what it is. Closing your eyes will help you lock out most of the distractions.
3. Next, notice your body and the place you’re seated. Feel the weight of your body pushing against the chair, feel the chair supporting itself on the floor, and feel the room or space you’re in.
4. Take several deep breaths. Try not to overthink the breathing process; let it just be as natural as possible.
5. Now, start taking note of the breaths. As you’re breathing in, feel the air going through you and filling every part of the body with life. As you breathe out, feel your body getting more relaxed.
6. Notice the floor and how your feet are lying on the floor, notice the pressure you’re putting on the floor, and how your feet feel. Feel the weight, the vibration, the pressure, and heat.
7. Notice your legs against the chair, the pulse, the heaviness or lightness of your legs.
8. Feel your back resting against the chair and the pressure you’re putting on the seat.
9. Shift your attention to your mid-section. If you feel your stomach is rigid, take a deep breath and allow it to soften.
10. Now go to your hands, are they tight or tense? Slowly allow them to ease as you take a deep breath.
11. Also, notice your arms, feel the sensations of your arms, and focus on your shoulders. If your shoulders are tight or tense, try and ease them as you breathe in and out.
12. Relax your neck area and throat as you breathe in and out.
13. Let your facial muscles and jaws soften up.
14. Take note of your full body and take one more deep breath.
This process can take anywhere from a few minutes from an hour, with time, it’ll get more natural.
Listen to a three-minute, body scan guided meditation, produced by UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC). The text of the audio content is available here.
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Featured image by JL G from Pixabay