Meditation 6 "Thought"
Updated: Aug 17, 2019
This week we continue 10 minute meditations to bring more of a sense of calm into our lives. We are learning a skill that involves observing the nature of thoughts that pass through our mind. In previous weeks we learnt to bring ourselves into an awareness of the present moment using the senses and breath. To relax and get in touch with our body with a simple body scan. And then to observe from a more objective, removed perspective thoughts that come and go and our underlying mood. We have been identifying whether our thoughts/feelings are set in the past, future or present and whether they are pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. This week we identify what kind of emotions we are feeling and explore where in the body these emotions express themselves.
For many years I was unaware of where emotions show up in my body. Suck it up and soldier on was my motto. This ended up compounding musculoskeletal issues that took quite a bit of rehabilitation and money to address. For me, realizing where I store stress in the body was helpful. When I became aware of it I could choose to relax these muscles again and again eventually creating new, healthier postures and movement patterns. When our muscles are tight this sends messages to our brains compounding feelings of anxiety. Releasing them stops this feedback loop. Sometimes tension in my body may be the first sign that I am upset about something. This can prompt me to explore what is causing me mental and physical unrest and deal with it.
Where anxiety gets stored physically can differ from person to person. Hot spots include tight jaw (+/- teeth grinding which can crack your teeth and cause headaches, tooth sensitivity, and jaw pain), tight throat or upper chest, tight neck and shoulders, tummy discomfort, or tight hips. Even jittery hands or feet. Sweaty palms and soles of the feet and a rapid heartbeat are also signs. It helps to know your own unique physical reaction to stress. As a bit of an aside, maintaining an open, upright posture can also help. When we stand up tall with our shoulders back research shows that our body releases serotonin, a feel good chemical, that makes us feel a little more confidant. It also helps us to be perceived by others as a little more confidant. This has flow on effects in social situations.
You might like to try Meditation 6 (10 min) each day this week. At the end of the week I will introduce the next meditation building on this practice. Happy meditating.