The Body Scan

The body scan is another meditation that can help you deal with panic, anxiety, or fear by
first sensing or feeling into the body with mindfulness. By practicing the body scan
you’ll learn to bring your attention directly into your body, part by part, to feel and
acknowledge whatever’s present—physically, emotionally, and mentally.
As you scan your body you may discover physical tension or pain, as well as strong
emotions of panic, sadness, or anger. The practice is to be mindful and nonjudgmental
and to acknowledge whatever you’re feeling. If you have sensations of tightness, see
whether you can allow them to soften, and if you’re unable to do so, then let them be—
let the waves of sensations ripple or resonate wherever they need to go. Just as the sky
gives room for a storm, make space for what you’re feeling physically or mentally. By
acknowledging your body, emotions, and thoughts rather than suppressing, denying, or
repressing them, you’ll become less burdened by them.


Calming the Rush of Panic in Your Body

Your body, emotions, and thoughts all play a role in panic. Learning how to work with
them can help you stay centered and calm. In this chapter we look at ways that you can
reduce the panic in your body. We will introduce you to two mindfulness meditations
that focus on the body.

The first is mindful breathing, and the second is the body scan.
For each meditation, we provide a script you can follow, as well as a URL so you can
download an audio track to guide you. Then we discuss the mindful practice called
S.T.O.P. Finally we offer some practical applications of mindfulness for you to try, to
help you feel more confident and comfortable in your own skin.
So that you feel safe, before you begin we’d like to offer some gentle suggestions
regarding all of the meditations and other practices in this book: Please tread lightly.

The meditations, informal practices, and applied practices are meant not to create more panic
or pressure in your life but as a way to help you practice engaging with panic in safe and
relatively comfortable surroundings. Know that you can stop at any time. Please take care
of yourself in the best way you need to. Remember: easy does it; one step at a time.
Slowly and gradually you can learn to live with more ease.