We live in such a fast-paced world that we often have no idea HOW our body is reacting to our level of activity and stress. Take 3 minutes, NOW, to perform this simple Body Scan Meditation. You may be the business man or woman, nurse, scientist, doctor, or even a life coach, but what you do or where you are does not matter! This is an easy technique that requires no prior experience with meditation. I use it all the time. I’ve even used it while working in the high-stress life of R&D at a cancer institute. Try this and transform your mood in just 3 minutes!
At your desk, work station or during your next bathroom break (usually a great place to find three minutes of privacy), close your eyes and perform the following 5 steps:
Step 1: Identify How You Feel
Yes, you are going to take a quick moment to identify your emotion. This does not have to bee too detailed. Just simply define a rough estimate of what your mind is doing.
- Am I stressed, anxious, or worried?
- Is my mind running?
- Am I upset, angry, insecure?
- A little of each?
Once you have identified this feeling, that’s it! Move on!
Step 2: Breath Deep (The “3-3-3” Breathing Technique)
Plant your feet on the ground with your hands on your lap, or stand in a relaxed stance with hands swinging by your side. Really, any comfortable position will suffice.
Repeat the following breathing technique THREE times!
- Breath In DEEP for a count of 3 (feel your gut push out and your back expand)
- Hold your breath for a count of 3 (recall that emotion you ID’d in Step 1)
- Breath Out for a count of 3 (contract your core muscles to exhale; visualize the air leaving the base of of your spine and releasing emotion from Step 1)
After your three repeats, allow your body to breath normally. At this point you may feel a little more relaxed. You may feel your temples or heart pulsing a little or may feel some calming tingles. You may also feel nothing at all. In either case, your doing great anyhow! Move on!
Step 3: Scan Your Body
The basic task here is to “scan” your body with your attention. In other words, all you will do is pay attention to different parts of your body, starting at your feet and moving up towards your head. To do this, follow these simple steps:
- Place your attention on your feet planted in the ground. Any tension? Wiggle your toes free!
- Move your attention to your ankles. Any tension? Wiggle free!
- Now move your attention to your Calfs. Any tension? Acknowledge them and move up.
- Repeat this by placing attention to thighs, gluts, groin, pelvic region, abdomen, chest and back.
- Pause at the neck and head and focus a little longer here (we normally hold tons of tension in these areas).
It may help to say “I release tension here now” while exhaling as you’re attending any of your body parts. Once you have scanned your body to your liking, move on!
Step 4: Breath DEEP, Again!
Repeat the “3-3-3” Breathing Technique detailed in Step 2. Move on!
Step 5: Identify How you feel, Again!
Once again, identify how you feel by referring to Step 1 in this process.
After the technique…
You may notice that you have experienced a sudden shift in your mood from when you started. This is great!
This simple meditation works by accomplishing two things:
- One, it helps you deliver oxygen to your body, which aids in the restoration of many of your body’s physiological functions
- Two, it helps you temporarily divert your attention from your mood while simultaneously using your attention to relax the different parts of your body.
You may also try this technique if you are experiencing any of the following:
- Feeling a sudden surge of anxiety
- Feeling the onset of a panic attack
- Having trouble unwinding after work or before bed
- Attempting to calm down before making an important decision
- Trying to decompress from a stressful interaction (i.e. argument)
- Trying to compose yourself before an interview
This technique is simple and really convenient to use in our fast-paced lives. Like I mentioned before, I use it all the time to ground myself and to become present in my current moment.
Try this out and let me know how it works for you in your current situation! I can’t wait to read about your success with this Body Scan Meditation!
Be well and breath easy!