Love your body through mindfulness

Help your body be at its best by becoming more aware of body sensations and being grateful for your body through mindfulness.

Have you ever been around a joyful, supportive, grateful person and wanted to join them or wish you could? The world is screaming for more of this type of  positive energy as a personality characteristic. Some say there are more positive people than negative in the world, and then others say that humans naturally default to negative. Which attitude do you lean towards? My parents always told me, “once you set your mind to it, you can do anything.”  This phrase, of “setting your mind to it” has powerful meaning. 

Think of mindfulness as “setting your mind”, on the object in front of you or on the present moment without judgement. We all can become more mindful of our attitude and characteristics; both the positive and negative ones! For this article, I want to focus on setting our minds to being gracious towards our bodies.

Don’t take your body for granted

In the book Mindful Eating – A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food, by Dr. Jan Chozen Bays, states that most of us take our bodies for granted and our good health too. We often don’t actually experience ourselves as “healthy” until we become ill. Once stricken with an illness or ailment, we often feel annoyed or upset of the inconvenience but then feel relief and euphoria once the illness or ailment leaves and for a few days we are grateful for our health, for the sense of smell and taste and an appetite and/or freedom from pain. 

This is often the only time when our veil of denial comes down and we truly appreciate our bodies, but then, within a few days, we are back on auto-pilot. Expecting our bodies to function well and do what we ask, without much thought or gratitude for how much the body works without our help. Rationally, we know that the human body does not function perfectly all the time, that illness and ailments will occur. So instead of complaining about the illness or ailment, try to accept them and be mindful that we are a human being with a body. Our bodies are separate from us much like a teammate. If we are negative towards our bodies, it will not function to it’s best capability. It simply feeds on the “energy” we give it, physically and psychologically!

Try this ‘body scan’ mindful practice to show appreciate and care for your body

One mindful practice that can be done to help keep us grateful for our bodies is to think about our entire body, inside and out on a daily basis. This practice is called a body scan.  A body scan is where you take the time to be with your body by mindfully directing your attention to your body one area at a time from head to toe including your internal organs inside your body, lungs, heart, blood flow, stomach, kidneys, etc.  The scan can be done quickly within a breath or as long as you have time for or want. During this scan, be open to all the sensations arising in each area scanned including:

  • Temperature spectrum from warm to cold
  • Touch
  • Pressure from light to very firm or even uncomfortable
  • Movement
  • The quality of a sensation – sharp, dull, prickly, smooth, constant or intermittent

Notice any aversion, irritations or withdrawal from certain organs or parts. Slow down and take notice of this body that is carrying you around and learn to listen and take notice of what it is needing or wanting and be grateful for all it does for us. Put your mind to it! 

Remember your body is aware of your negative thoughts

If you are one who gets irritated with your body when it is ill or hurting, remember that your body is aware of this negativity and this negativity can cause more damage. The body actually outperforms us by producing millions of cells within twelve human body systems that work simultaneously continually without pausing for the entirety of our life!  A little gratitude goes a long way so make it a priority to regularly take the time daily to be mindful and thankful of our bodies and what it does for us on a daily basis.  

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