“Knowing what we feel is the first step to knowing why we feel that way. If we are aware of the constant changes in our inner and outer environment, we can mobilize to manage them.” – Bessel Van der Kolk
Find Your Happy
Every month this year we are highlighting simple practices that we can engage in to invite more peace, joy, and contentment into our lives. Why? Because our mission is to help people live richer lives, and we’ve found evidence to suggest we can all increase our happiness through simple skills that are easily learned and turned into habits. This month our focus is on knowing our body—from the inside out.
Being Present in Your Body
The relationship between the health of our bodies and minds is nearly indisputable, and physical exercise, particularly cardiovascular, is one of the most well-recognized ways to promote happiness and wellbeing. Another aspect of physical health that is less well-known is the ability to be fully present in our bodies. We can think of this as becoming comfortable in our own skin. Developing familiarization with our inner sense of self across all dimensions, emotionally, psychologically, and bodily, is essential for a sense of wellbeing. Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk put it this way: “If you have a comfortable connection with your inner sensations … you will feel in charge of your body, your feelings, and yourself.”
Practice Body Scan
Find a quiet place and position to sit or lie in comfortably with your eyes closed. Take a few deep breaths, and then take the next 5-10 minutes to move your attention slowly from one part of your body to another, carefully noticing the sensations in each area. Scan your body systematically by starting at your head or your feet and then working your way patiently throughout your entire body. During the body scan, there is no need to do anything, make anything happen, or even try to relax. Just briefly observe the bodily sensations you encounter, let them be and then move on.
Think of the body scan as an investigation into the moment-to-moment experiences of the body. It is a wonderful practice you can do daily to get in touch with your body and mind. By bringing mindfulness to the body, you begin to notice how stress and anxiety effect you and learn what you need to find your inner calm and be happy.
Would you like to receive our 2017 calendar, Year of Happy? The calendar contains mindfulness practices that will help you make 2017 a year of happiness and compassion. Request your calendar today.
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