There are eight recognized qualities of mindfulness: trust, patience, beginner’s mind, non-judgment, non-striving, letting go, acceptance, and gratitude. But I’ve added a ninth and that’s embodiment, It’s the foundation for building the skill of mindfulness which is present moment non-judgmental awareness.
What is embodiment, and how is it going to help me reduce my stress?
Embodiment is your awareness of being in your body, including all the information coming to you from inside your body, and everything your body is taking in from your surroundings. Sometimes this is called your “felt sense”.
You want to bring all the other good qualities of mindfulness into the present moment experience of being in your body – acceptance, gratitude, non-judgment, and so on. When you do this, you start getting really interested and comfortable just being in your body.
All of your experiences happen in your body: your thoughts, your emotions, your sensations, your impulses throughout the day - Impulses to do something or say something.
The only way to be present, in the moment, is to be in your body. And your body is where you can feel and give kind attention to your emotions. When your attention is settled in your body, you can discover and heal emotional wounds that need your kind attention.
The more you practice being in your body, the easier it becomes to pause before you react to something automatically, and possibly make it worse rather than better.
And that ability to pause is the key to unlocking chronic stress reactivity.
So, you might be wondering, how do I learn how to pause? How do I learn how to be in my body and feel my sensations and emotions? This is where a little bit of meditation practice every day comes in. Your sense of embodiment comes from the bottom up, not the top down. So, we can’t “think” our way into embodiment, or “will” ourselves to pay more attention to the body. That’s too hard and it doesn’t work.
But a little meditation every day will help you have a greater sense of embodiment, and this will help you to pause more. And when you can pause, you can feel, you can notice more, you have more choice over how you respond to things in the moment. This is how you unwind stress.
On my website, IntegrativeMindfulness.net, there are some free guided meditations for strengthening embodiment. You’ll also find some really good practices in my free webinar: Learn Three Quick Mindfulness Practices for Stress Relief.
Practice strengthening your sense of embodiment with a little meditation each day.
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