Increase Mindfulness by Paying Attention to Your Body

Hello and welcome back to the Mindfulness Blog at Forever Eights.

To build on the use of noting in meditation exercise from yesterday, today we're going to explore a new practice to purposely pay attention, which is what mindfulness is really all about.

Purposely paying attention is what Mindfulness is all about.

You would think this would be easy to do, but our minds have his habit of being in constant motion. They continually wander between thoughts and worries, daydreams and ruminations. And of course, the thoughts we ruminate and obsess about are usually thoughts of the past and the future.

Since there's nothing we can do to alter the events of the past and the future has yet to unfold, the present moment is really the only one that counts.

How many times have you gone on a date or had a job interview and later ruminated about how you messed it up when you actually had no idea how it was going to go?

How many times have you stayed up all night worrying about something that hadn't yet happened and was totally out of your control?

Meditating helps us recognize how often were caught up in thought because when we observe what’s going on in our minds, it becomes clear how often were stuck in the past and future. We can then acknowledge that ruminating and worrying aren’t really that helpful to the present moment.

Meditating helps us recognize how often were caught up in thought because when we observe what’s going on in our minds

Noticing our perpetual running commentary is the first step to releasing ourselves from it, allowing for a shift in our perspective, and contentment to grow. So, for today's meditation, we're going to practice paying attention through a guided body scan.

Start by sitting comfortably with a straight back and close your eyes then let your body begin to relax.

As you become still bring your attention to your breath. Notice how it draws into your body and as it leaves your body. You don't have to do anything special or regulate it in any way. Just breathe naturally. Notice how your breath feels out on the exhale.

With each out-breath, let your body become heavy; sinking deeper into your chair or cushion.

Breathing in and out.

Take one minute to just observe and embrace this feeling of heaviness.

Now, bring your attention to the top of your head and scalp feeling whatever's happening in this area.

You might feel tingling or heat throbbing or soft vibrations.

There may be a strong sensation or you might not feel much at all.

The specifics of what you notice aren't important; all that matters is that you experience whatever is there.

The specifics aren't important; what matters is that you experience what is there.

Now, lower your attention to your forehead, face, jaw, and chin where we store tension through the day. Allow the muscles in your face to soften.

Notice any sensation in your ears, your temples, and the back of the head.

On the next out-breath, let that sensation dissolve. Lower your focus to the neck, letting the throat and sides and back of the neck soften.

Notice any sensation that arises on the surface of the skin or deeper within.

Next, bring your attention to your shoulders. Noticing if there is tension or strain or if you don't feel much in this region at all. Whatever you observe is perfectly fine. Breathe into your shoulder gently and if any areas feel tight, allow them to relax.

Now bring your attention to your arms, noticing any sensations that are there. Any coolness or heat or tingling or pressure. On the next out-breath, allow your arms to soften

Extend your awareness down the arms towards the wrist, palms, and fingers. Direct your breath into these areas; relaxing into stillness.

Next, come to the chest, observing the rise and fall of each breath. Notice how the lungs expand and contract and observe how this feels.

Direct your attention to the top of your back and experience whatever is there. There may be some intensity as this is an area where we commonly hold stress. Once you've had a chance to observe what is present, let that sensation dissolve.

Slowly lower your attention to your middle and lower back. Pay attention to what's there. Try not to judge the sensations you feel. Don't label them as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant. If you notice any tension or warmth or discomfort, just observe what's there and let it soften.

Try not to judge the sensations you feel.

Move your focus around your abdomen, noticing it expanding when filling up with air then slowly emptying on the exhale. Observe any sensations that arrive as you breathe in and out

Bring your attention to your pelvis. Notice where your body makes contact with the ground or your chair. Observing whatever is present hardness softness any pain or tingling. You're not trying to change what's going on or get anywhere; just see if you can hold whatever is happening in awareness

Observe your thighs. Notice where they make contact with your cushion or the chair. Breathing in and out and let go, sinking deeper.

Lower your attention to your knees and breathe into this area gently. Notice your shins and calves. Is there a itching or tingling or pressure sensation? Simply notice what’s there. Now, release.

Simply notice what’s there. Now, release.

When you're ready, breathe into your ankles, your feet, and toes. Let them relax and become soft. Breathing in and out.

Notice how paying attention to the entire length of your body feels. Experiencing it exactly as it is in the present moment.

The more we pay attention to our bodies and minds, the more insight we have into ourselves.

As your practice for the day finishes, keep your eyes closed and bring your attention to your whole body. Notice how your mind and body feel.

Now, gently wiggle your fingers and your toes and slowly open your eyes.

Congratulations on completing day three!

Tomorrow, we’ll continue our journey into better mindfulness and calmness by pulling ourselves out of autopilot with a new mindfulness technique.

I hope you have a beautiful day and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

Erin


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