I love writing about the brain and the nervous system but want to go back today to the experiencing the sensations in the body. Let’s pause and take time to find where we are in our bodies right now; let’s look for an inner and outer sense of ourselves. New readers may want to check past posts on Somatic Experiencing and mindfulness.
Wherever you are right now-if possible-take some minutes to reflect. Probably you’re sitting; what part of your body feels most settled; maybe you feel contained by your chair; maybe your feet feel heavy on the floor. Your arms may be resting comfortably; the back of your legs may feel particularly supported. Whatever it is, give yourself time to notice and maybe sink some more into the sensations.
Now let’s try for a sense of the inner body; this may be more difficult. Start by noticing your breath-just notice. Is it shallow or deep-what is your experience of the way you’re breathing right now. Stay with it; notice. Notice your chest, your neck, your arms. If the breath deepens, how exactly do you notice? Does it make you feel more comfortable or less?
Sometimes a little bit of expansion can make us feel anxious. What does anxiety feel like in your body? When I’m anxious I feel arousal (activation) in my chest; others may feel it in their stomach. When I become more anxious I feel less settled in my body, less contained. I may feel my feet making less contact with the floor or feel less contained by the chair.
Conversely, breathing more deeply may make you feel less anxious, more settled. See if you can find this in your body. Notice the difference between the two places.
Give yourself some time to explore this. Maybe do it again when you have more time. Being with yourself is well the worth the time.