How to Practice the Body Scan

The body scan is an important meditation to help you get in touch with your body
and mind. This is great training for dealing with panic and to gradually begin to feel
more acceptance and ease within yourself.
As you practice the body scan, there may be at times a feeling that it’s counterintuitive at first to acknowledge what you’re feeling physically, mentally, and
emotionally. In time, you’ll gradually come to know the skillfulness and efficiency of
this. You’ll recognize that acknowledging your feelings becomes a powerful mechanism
of emotional discharge and release. You’ll begin to gain confidence that the best way to
straighten out is to turn in the direction of the skid. Perhaps you’ve noticed that the more
you try to avoid your feelings, the more they return—again and again—just as when you
turn away from a skid, the car spins out of control. The body scan teaches you to
mindfully go with what’s happening rather than fighting it.

See what happens when you do this in your own life. By doing the body scan once (or maybe even twice) a day, you’ll learn how to work with a whole range of sensations, thoughts, and feelings. Try to make time to do the
body scan when you can; even a short period will benefit you as you get in touch with
your body. Feel free to use an alarm clock or timer, but always try to find a quiet place
where you can be uninterrupted for the duration of your practice.

Some people like to do the body scan in the morning before getting out of bed, while others prefer mid-morning,
the lunch hour, or before or after dinner. Some prefer to practice right before going to
bed. There is no right time other than the time you pick to do it.
Let this be a part of your practice of mindfulness you look forward to doing, a gift to
yourself and a way to become more balanced within your being.

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