Hello my fellow humans- today I want to discuss ways that we can be more in tune with our bodies that don’t take a lot of time- but to take a moment of mindfulness. This is a particularly hard area for me, personally. There have been a lot of moments in my life when I didn’t feel like I had a lot of bodily autonomy or felt safe in my own skin- so I love to dwell in my mind. However, that means I have a hard time feeling comfortable and fully grounded in my physical body. So, if you are having a similar experience (or you simply want to just take a moment in this busy, busy world we live in) let’s get comfortable in our own bodies together for a moment today.
First- we should start with what “being in tune with our bodies” means. It can be a little different for everyone- but there are some basics that everyone should eventually be able to navigate. Here are five things we should all strive to be able to identify at any moment:
- Am I hungry or thirsty? This might seem silly- but these are things that a lot of people actually struggle with. Using myself as an example- I have ADHD, sometimes it is hard for me to focus long enough to notice I am hungry or I struggle to prioritize eating or drinking water because in my mind…I have better things to do. Secondly, I personally struggle with emotional eating. I have to sometimes take a moment to figure out if I am actually hungry- or if I am really just struggling to process stress. If this resonates with you- then maybe your first practice should be related to hunger and thirst cues.
- Being able to identify how your current environment feels. Again, using myself as an example, I tend to live in my head. So I can often be caught drifting into the past or worrying about the future. (To be clear it’s sometimes good to reflect and also good to prepare or plan…but for this practice- these things are not helpful.) Being able to identify how your body feels in your current state is key to being able to be present and mindful of where you are currently at. If you are constantly reacting to past or future threats- your body will never feel or notice that you may have created a safe space.
- Can I identify how I am feeling? You might not think this is a body-related check in- but trust me, it is. Have you ever been angry for no reason or feel really sad suddenly? A lot of times- we will react to the emotion even if we are unable to identify it. Now go back and think how many of those times you were hungry, tired, or your period started two days later. When we are able to pinpoint, identify, and acknowledge our emotions- we can often pinpoint what our body needs.
- Where did this bruise come from? Spacial awareness is a gift or a skill that many of us- or at least I lack. Again, relating to ADHD I often am not aware of things in my path. I am great at narrowly avoiding things…but I often look down and have no idea where a bruise came from. Not being particularly aware of your surroundings can happen for many reasons- but more often than not- it is because you live in your head and not your body. If you find yourself with bruises you have no explanation for, you are super clumsy, or you tend to accidentally get in people’s way often- then this may be a sign you are not in tune with your body.
- Do I nearly almost always pee my pants? Once again- this is going to sound silly, but if you are finding that nearly every time you need to go to the bathroom…it’s an emergency…then you might need a check-in. Once again, ADHD comes in and makes you forget you are a living being that has basic needs. Peeing…may not seem like the highest priority until it is an absolute emergency. Most people who are aware of their own bodies will get a signal a while before they actually gotta go.
Now, if you relate to any or all of the above…then here are some practices that can help you become more aware of your body and slowly but surely make it a more comfortable place to be.
5 Ways To Be More Present in Your Body
- 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Sensory Check. Our senses require a present mind to recognize what’s around you. Take a moment, and find 5 things you can see (you can be vague or specific like 5 blue things). 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. This immediately brings a presence to your current state and only takes a minute or two.
- Breathing techniques. I know, roll your eyes…but it does help. There are two breathing techniques that I personally use that help regulate anxiety and bring me back to the present.
- Breathe in, breathe in a little bit more, and then exhale. Children naturally do this when they are crying or stressed, as well as animals. It naturally regulates your nervous system and brings a bit of calmness to any situation. Being a mom- I find myself doing this to breathe through frustrating moments.
- 8 seconds in-8 seconds out. This forces you to be more present, slow down, and be intensely aware of your breathing. Bringing in oxygen at a larger scale helps with focus, calms the nervous system, and helps regulate emotions.
- Ground your feet. Ideally, you turn into a little hippie and stand on the bare earth with even barer feet. BUT- that is not mandatory. Wherever you are, in or out of shoes, take a moment and imagine your feet getting rooted into the earth. Imagine your toes sinking into the dirt. Take a moment to notice how your feet connect with the ground. I personally this helps us align spiritually with our connection to the earth but it also simply just makes you aware your body is firmly planted on the ground and brings your mind to the present.
- 5-minute-surrounding journal. There are two techniques again, that I personally use. Journaling is a very conscious effort to write something- if you go in with a vague intention, it’s easy to stay up wandering in your mind. That is why- I like to use specific formats when I am needing to connect with my body and surroundings.
- What is around me? Set a timer on your phone and write in as much detail as possible (don’t care about good or bad writing-just make one run-on sentence if you want). What is around you? What do you see? What do you smell, hear, feel, taste? Essentially this is a crash course of the 5,4,3,2,1 Method- but with less structure and physical notes.
- What around me am I grateful for right now? When you are feeling a bit down and that is why you are less present- this is what I like to use. Make a list of everything you can physically see or experience that you are grateful for.
It can be as simple as being grateful for the blanket you are using or can be grand things like a house, children, relationships, etc. List every single thing you can think of until your hand cramps.
- Eat mindfully. For at least one meal a day- notice each and every flavor, note the textures of the different ingredients, and maybe talk about it. Turn off the TV or distractions and just really be present with a meal. Having a moment and taking in every aspect of an experience can be very grounding and also make you realize when you are hungry or full during your meal.
As someone who has personally struggled with being grounded, I hope these practices can help be more in tune with your body. Just remember that it’s okay to live in your brain right now if that is best- but taking five minutes a day to be intensely aware that you exist in a body is good too. That is all, for now, my friends, happy reading and hopefully I will see you around soon!
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