Maintaining a sense of balance and mental health wellbeing – Conversing with the self.
We find ourselves in uncertain scary times. To deny this would indicate that you have not consciously been paying attention to what is happening. On some level, you are aware otherwise you would not be reading this.
First of all, acknowledge all that is going on for you; I’m aware that this may be difficult. There is much. Take some time to sit with yourself, have a conversation with your own body. What do I mean by have a conversation with your own body?
Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for at least 30 minutes, turn off your phone, and any other items that may distract you.
Close your eyes, or soften your gaze. Begin to notice your breath, how your breath goes in and how it comes out, which aspects are aware of the breath, from the nostrils, going down the trachea, into the lungs, how your lungs and stomach move, how your shoulders move, how your breath moves into, through, and out of your body. The feel of the air – is it cold, warm, or don’t you notice? Now take three deep inhalations and three slow exhalations; as you breathe in gift yourself a wee smile either inside or outside. As you exhale allow your shoulders to relax and drop, and notice how this alters or not the way you breathe.
Allow yourself to breathe normally again, whatever that means for you.
Focus your attention on your feet, your toes, the balls of your feet, the tops of your feet, your heels, your ankles, wiggle or move them if you so wish. Become aware of your feet. With each breath bring your attention to another part of your body, following your body’s need for movement or stillness – starting at your feet and moving upwards, your calves and shins, your knees, your thighs, your pelvic area, your lower back, abdomen, midriff, mid-back, chest, upper back, shoulders, upper arms, elbows, forearms, wrists, hands, fingers, neck, back of head, top of head, hair, forehead, eyebrows, eyes, cheeks, nose, ears, mouth, chin. Breathe into your entire being, noticing how each aspect feels, no requirement to amend or alter; just observe and note if there is any tightness or resistance. You do not need to attend to any aspect, just observe and notice.
Breathe in deeply again and release slowly.
Once again bring your attention to each area of your body, beginning at your feet and moving upwards. As you slowly move through your body ask each part if it wishes to say anything, allow some time to listen; do not respond, merely listen, note any responses, and move through your body. As you move through each part of your body, thank it for the work it does in keeping you alive, aiding you to walk, breathe, think, move… whatever that part offers, accept with gratitude.
THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT TO RESPOND TO WHAT COMES UP, OBSERVE ONLY
Take three deep breaths, inhaling slowly and exhaling slowly; in your own time bring yourself back to the here and now in full consciousness, write down anything that comes up, anything of note.
Your body may or may not respond to you. This is a practice both in breathing and listening, learning to communicate with your body; this is just one way, there are many.
There is a saying ‘the body holds the score’. This relates to the body as a memory. The body knows everything that has ever happened to you. Both the processed stuff, and the stuff you have buried or tried to forget. Listening to the body and allowing the body to guide you is an excellent starting point to living in alignment with yourself and maintaining your sense of well-being.
You can spend as much or as little time as you wish on this exercise. Take care of yourself and be kind to yourself. As you begin a dialogue with your body, it may activate memories or emotions; allow these to unfold, and give them some space. You are not required to engage, merely to observe and listen.
Your body may say, get some exercise, get some good food into me, drink more water, sort this out, I am hurting, I am good; it may speak things that you do not understand. All is well.
If this exercise does activate something that you feel needs more attention, please get in touch. Help is available; this may be from a trusted friend or trusted professional. Allowing space is crucial for you to process what comes up and how these current times may have impacted on you, all of you.
Always practice kindness to the self, become your own best friend from a place of love and acceptance.
Helen Gibson MA.