What is a mindful self-inquiry? It is a journey into your own mind and the your own being. Day in, day out, we don’t have the time to pause and do some self-reflection. The practice below requires just half an hour and it lets you explore the emotions, thoughts and physical sensations behind your stress and anxiety. You will combine mindful self-inquiry with mindfulness of thoughts, mindful breathing and body scan.
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It is natural to feel somewhat scared of delving deeper into your own mind; but remember that when you recognize and acknowledge your fears, worries, painful memories and other difficult things that we tend to bury deep in our conscience.
With this practice, you will learn to stay with the negative emotions rather than ignore, escape or over-analyze them.
Read the entire text before you start, pause for a bit after each paragraph. As we’ve said above, it should take you about 30 minutes to complete the session.
Choose a position most comfortable for you, where you can relax and still be alert.
Start by congratulating yourself on taking your time to explore your own thoughts, sensations and emotions.
Spend a couple of moments doing a mindful check-point with yourself: what’s your mood? What/How are you feeling? Just feel and acknowledge.
Now, gently divert your attention to your natural breath, the way you breathe in and out. When you are feeling anxious, focusing on your breath can help you calm your nerves.
If you catch your mind wandering off, note this and direct it back to breathing. Slow your life down a bit, one inhalation and one exhalation at a time.
Next, shift your focus from your breathing to your bodily sensations. Acknowledge what you are experiencing at this moment in a way a meteorologist would report his weather readings.
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Focus your attention on your legs, starting from the soles of your feet, proceeding to the heels, the toes, ankles, every joint and muscle - feel it, let the awareness seep in.
Feel the awareness shift higher, up to the knee joints, to upper legs, to the hip joints, your thighs. Notice and let be. Move your mind through your buttocks, the genital region, the lower back, the spine. Whatever sensations, you come across, acknowledge and let be.
If you notice tension and achy-ness at any point, if you can, try and soften these areas. If you can’t, notice and let be.
Scan your body through the shoulders and shoulder blades, your upper arms and elbows, the forearms, the wrists, and the hands, the fingertips.
Gently draw your attention to your tummy, the skin of your chest, the sternum, the rib cage. Whatever you feel there, acknowledge and move on. Feel your lungs expand and collapse, letting the air in and out.
Now, feel the connection of your shoulders into your neck and throat, higher to the jaw and inside, the mouth, your teeth, your tongue. Acknowledge and let be.
Next, feel into the cheeks of the face, the temples, the head, and the forehead. The eyes and the facial structure, through the ears and into the brain.
As you’re nearing the end of your body-journey, in your mind, connect your head with the neck, with the shoulders and arms, the chest, the back, the legs and feet. Feel your body as a whole from tips of your toes to your head.
If, during the body scan, you come across any fears or anxious thoughts or memories, or worries, feel into them, acknowledge and move on.
By learning to co-exist with those feelings and emotions, we may discover the reasons behind them.
As you end the body scan practice, bring your attention back to your breathing. In and out, notice how your chest and belly expand and fall with each breath. Breathe in and breathe out, with awareness. Let each breath tether you to the present moment.
Begin to observe what is on your mind, just like watching your own breath coming and going. As you would observe clouds in the sky, let the thoughts and emotions pass by just like clouds. The thoughts in your head and the sensations around you, sights, smells and tastes, come and go, they are not permanent.
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Gently bring your attention from observing your thoughts to breathing again. Extend your well wishes to those healing, learning to embrace their fears. Congratulate yourself for tuning in with your fears and anxieties, you can now calmly acknowledge them and start working with them, and not be challenged by them.
May all beings, wherever they are, may they be free from fear, and may all beings be at peace.
The BetterMe Team wants you and those close to you to live a healthy, happy life! Your health is a valuable thing; look after your body and your mind so that you can live your life to the fullest – Remember you only get one!
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