Body Scan & Gratitude Meditation: A Stop the Negative Self-Talk Strategy
"To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance." ~ Oscar Wilde
I added a body scan and gratitude meditation to my recent 5-Day 'Heart Your Body' Challenge. It's such a useful tool that I wanted to share it broadly. Here's why...
A body scan meditation mixed with a gratitude meditation is an excellent way to promote a harmonious mind-body connection.
In this simple meditation, you have the unique opportunity to thank your body for all it does for you on a daily basis to radically improve your body image in a new way.
Your body is an incredible system, one which offers you the ability to live and enjoy your life. However, it can be too easy to forget this and take your body for granted.
By switching up the dialogue and offering your body this gratitude meditation, a different perspective emerges. It fosters a positive body image and a supportive, healthy mindset because this newfound perspective focuses on the amazing capacity of the human body rather than on shape or size.
This practice is a wonderful exercise for deepening the mind-body connection and for noticing what is present within the body. While breathing into any areas of tension or tightness can indeed help us to soften some of our held stress. You can use this strategy any time your body confidence needs a boost.
To begin the meditation, bring kind awareness to:
The area your body needs mindful attention. Is it your heart, mind, body, breath or environment? Perhaps all of these things?
How your belly, chest, and head each feel when you reflect on this topic
The emotions that you can associate with these visceral feelings
The positive or negative impact of any stories you believe in regarding this topic
The fact that many others are feeling similarly about this topic as you
How you might feel with increased awareness around this topic
When you can apply increased mindfulness to this topic in your day-to-day life
How often do we mindfully note what is present in the body? Since most of our days are spent caught up in the activities of the mind, we are not always conscious of what our physical body is experiencing.
Practicing full body awareness helps us to tune in with ourselves in a more intimate way, strengthening the mind-body connection and offering us insights into how we are doing.
This practice is a soothing and restorative body scan that invites us to witness the body with openness, tenderness and curiosity. It can be practiced at any time of the day and can be explored in just a handful of minutes.
BODY SCAN PRACTICE:
Begin by coming to a comfortable seated or lying down position. Open the heart space and soften the shoulders as you settle into your meditative position. Close your eyes when you are ready.
Take three deep breaths to ground yourself and then begin the scan by drawing your attention to the crown of your head. Using your close-eyed awareness to scan the body downwards. Note if you pass any areas of tension, tightness, or discomfort.
Pay particular attention to areas that typically hold stress in the human body, such as the forehead, jaw, shoulders, chest, belly, hands and/or hips. Note the state of the breath’s flow as well. Is it shallow and tense or is it deep and relaxed?
If you come across any areas of tension, hold your awareness there. Invite the breath to energetically cleanse or soften these areas one by one. You might imagine that with each inhalation, the breath brings healing energy to that body part and that with each exhalation, it invites a subtle release. Stay with each area of tension for as long as is needed.
Once you have finished the scan (ending at your toes), hold your entire body in your awareness. Notice if there are any additional areas calling for your attention that may have been missed, tending to these areas as needed.
Hold your open awareness on the entire body for one full minute, simply witnessing your body as it sits or rests here.
Now, move into the gratitude meditation on the next page. Use it as a starting point and get creative and specific about how the different areas of your body have supported you.
GRATITUDE MEDITATION PRACTICE:
Start to bring attention to your head and thank...
Your ears for listening
Your eyes for taking in the world around you
Your tongue for speaking your truth
Your mouth for eating nourishing food
Your mind for its insight and ability to focus
Then, move down into your chest and thank...
Your lungs for breathing in fresh air
Your heart for beating
Bring awareness into your arms and thank...
Your hands for writing, holding books and creating
Your fingers for their sense of touch
Your arms for any hugs that you have given and/or received today
Tune into your torso and thank...
Your belly for digesting nourishing food
Your vital organs for all your body's functions
Feel your lower body and thank...
Your legs and feet for carrying you around all day
Finally, connect with your whole body and thank...
Your body for being your vessel in the world, your vehicle for experiencing each day fully
Once again, hold your open awareness on the entire body for one full minute, simply witnessing your body as it sits or rests here. When you're ready, slowly open your eye to come back to the world around you.
What to take this with you for future reference? I've created a FREE downloadable version of this body scan and gratitude meditation. You can access it here.