Body Scans & Progressive Relaxation
It has been said that emotion and stress exist closer to the physical realm than they do to the realm of thought. With that being said, there is a great deal of tension that is being held throughout one's physical body; some parts may seem obvious to us while other areas holding tension may be more subtle and not as evident in a given moment.
The body scan is a mindfulness approach that allows a participant to bring focussed attention to individual parts of the body in a fairly systematic and incremental manner; either head-to-toe or toe-to-head. The body scan can be done from either a sitting or lying down posture, whichever is most comfortable for the participant. By following along to some of the "guided links" one can "shine a light" on their entire body, bringing awareness to the areas that require some relaxing. Studies show that bringing this purposeful relaxed approach to the body helps engage the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) which then makes it more likely one will respond rather than react, feel happier, more alert and focused, and potentially have a greater level of satisfaction in their relationships with self and others.
Progessive-Relaxation (also known as "Tense/Release") is another systematic and incremental approach to bringing awareness to parts of the body with the intent of contracting the muscle or body part and holding it for 5-10 seconds. The "tense" phase is then immediately followed by a purposeful "release" of that tension while visualizing that tension washing down and out of you, through your toes, like a mountain stream; downward, until it finds its way out to the "bay" which exists outside of the body.