“Most illnesses creep in when you are not present in your body” Eckhart Tolle.
Excessive thinking is detrimental to our health. It places too much attention on our thoughts which in turn traps excess energy in our head causing tension, restlessness, being on edge, concentration problems and insomnia just to name a few.
Excess thinking disconnects us from our body and deprives our body of valuable energy flow and health.
As Eckhart Tolle says “The more consciousness you bring into your body the stronger your immune system becomes”
An obvious solution is to remember we have a body and to be more mindful of feeling and breathing into it, whenever we can. The purpose of course is to re-direct energy and awareness away from the head and thoughts, and back down into the whole body and present moment.
One way to achieve this is with a simple relaxation exercise called “Mindfulness of the body via the four access points”. I learnt this very short, yet surprisingly effective health ritual at one of Dr. Ian Gawlers workshops and fell in love with it instantly. Hope you find it as helpful as I have.
You only need a few moments and can do it anywhere, anytime. Practice in the shower, before you get out of bed in the morning, or in the car before you are about to drive off. You could also easily enjoy it as a 5 minute meditation practice – if you chose too.
Mindfulness of the body via the four access points:
Using your breath coupled with your awareness you are re-directing your focus, breath and energy into four key areas of the body.
Not only will this help “get you out of your head” but it also encourages relaxation and improved energy flow throughout your whole body.
1: Start by getting comfortable and gently closing your eyes.
2: Bring your awareness to your breath for a few moments.
3: Now bring your awareness into your feet. Sense your feet, feel the energy in your feet and notice any tingling or sensations in your feet. There is nothing to do except be mindful of your feet. Breath into your feet and feel the energy moving in and around your feet.
4: Now bring your awareness to your stomach. Feel any tightness, tension, comfortable, uncomfortable. Let go of any reaction or judgement simply feel and become mindful of your stomach area. I prefer to place my hands on my stomach, it gives me a better sense of how its feeling and then I use my breath to direct energy there.
5: Now bring your awareness to your shoulders. Use the flow of your breath to feel into the muscles in and around your shoulders. Notice how your shoulders feel. There nothing to do except be mindful of your shoulders.
6: Now bring your awareness to the space between your eyes. Become aware of the area in and around your eyes. Feel with your breath – your eyes, eye brows and your forehead. Without doing anything just be mindful of your eyes and how they feel.
7: To finish, bring your awareness to your whole body. Breath deeply into your body. Feel it. Listen to it. Just be with it.
8: When you are ready, open your eyes.
Arrive with your body, breath and mind:
If you are looking for another option, you might feel drawn to the 3 arrivals, a Buddhist well-being ritual that encourages your mind, body and breath to arrive – into the present moment, all at the same time, with awareness and calm.
It’s a very healthy relaxed place from which to live.
1: Firstly, arrive with your body. Give your body permission to unwind and relax. Exhale (loudly if you need too) with a sigh or ahh. Use the exhale to release physical tension and stress.
2. Arrive with your breath. Notice your breath. Feel the rhythm of your breath. Let your breath breathe you. Simply allow it come and go naturally. Allow your breath to arrive into this moment.
3. Arrive with your mind. Stop getting involved in your thoughts. Stop planning and worrying. Do not think about the past or be concerned about the future. Give yourself permission to just be.
If you do nothing the mind arrives. As Lama Willa Miller says in her book Seven Weeks to Finding the Buddha in You “Thoughts are like fish-bait. If you stop biting at the bait, you will not get hooked. If you leave thoughts alone they will not harm you”.
Some more options:
Start using affirmations. An affirmation is a handy tool for difficult times, and encourages you to think and respond differently. Its about using your mind to communicate a different message to your body and thoughts other than worry, panic or anxiety.
Stop the stress escalating by spending longer on the exhale, release surface tension as it happens or by breathing into your belly.
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Beside my bed:
If you are struggling with health issues, I have a feeling you will love this book. I’ve borrowed it twice from the library and will now be buying a copy. Some books are simply keepers to delve into from time to time for their pearls of wisdom. The biggest highlight for me was being reassured that our bodies natural healing mechanisms work magnificently when our bodies have internally triggered the relaxation response.
xx Carole Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself by Dr. Lissa Rankin