Tune into your Body
One of the most amazing aspects of your body is that it functions without you having to do anything — your heart beats, your lungs breathe, and your stomach processes and digests your food without you having to tell them to. Yet, your body also constantly sends you messages and feedback through different sensations that you might not always notice. It is an important tool for your health to make some time each day to tune into your body’s sensations and notice if you think it is trying to communicate something to you. Take a moment each day and check in with your body. What do you notice? Are there any pains or aches? Do you feel a sense of heaviness or lightness? Do you feel tight anywhere? By bringing your attention to your body, you are able to bring your attention to the present and also connect to the feedback and information your body is sending you so you can learn from your body.
Set an alarm on your phone or watch for a specific time each day to check in with your body and do this practice. Take a deep breath and become fully aware of everything you feel through your senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell), including sensations in your body, the air on your skin, temperature of the room, sounds around you, etc. Notice, allow, and breathe through any discomfort that might come up from thoughts, feelings, or sensations you have.
Tips for strong emotions or sensations:
When you do this practice, it is normal for strong emotions or physical sensations to be there. If the emotions or sensations feel overwhelming, just stop the practice and give yourself some credit for trying it out! Many people have noticed that the more they practice, the more they are able to handle big emotions or sensations in their bodies.
If the emotions or sensations are not too overwhelming and you want to keep practicing, try this:
As you check in with your body and emotions, see if you can “feel” where the emotions live in your body. You might find that feelings of worry or anxiety cause discomfort in your chest and so on. Once you identify where that emotion lives in your body, you can bring your attention to it, and see if you can relax your body in that area. This can help release and soften the emotion or sensation you are feeling and maybe even its impact on you.
Tips for helping them learn how to tune into their bodies
- Once a week (build up to daily) offer this practice to your young person, and/or make time to sit with them to do it together. Either laying flat on the floor, sitting cross-legged, or doing whatever is comfortable, actively /mindfully tune into the body.
- If you are practicing together, tell each other what you are feeling, physically and emotionally. Help each other accept how you are feeling and feel safe sharing. If they are practicing alone, have them note to themselves, their sensations.
- Try to help each other pinpoint where you hold certain emotions in your body and talk about it, how it makes you feel, what seems to soothe it, and what triggers those emotions and/or physical feelings.
- Connecting with your young person on this level can help you both learn more deeply about each other and build on your relationship of safety and trust.