What is mind-body awareness?
Mind-body awareness is the practice understanding our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations to develop greater self-awareness and overall wellbeing. It encompasses moment-by-moment awareness through gentle nurturing, acceptance, and non-judgment.
🛁 It's like a warm, cozy bubble bath (or your version of it).
Benefits of mind-body awareness
Why do it? Study after study show that increased mind-body awareness through mindfulness meditations offer extensive benefits that impact your leadership and daily life. Here are 5 effects of mindfulness:
Stress Reduction. Mind-body awareness techniques, like mindfulness and deep breathing, can help leaders reduce stress. It can lead to improved overall health and quality of life, including a stronger immune system, better sleep quality, and increased positive emotions (and reduced negative ones).
Emotional Intelligence. As your mind-body awareness grows, your awareness of self and others, emotional regulation, compassion, and empathy do, too. They're key components of emotional intelligence. Leaders who have emotional intelligence tend to be stronger in collaboration, communication, and relationship management. This can lead to higher productivity, engagement, and retention.
Enhanced Focus and Clarity. Research shows that it increases gray matter density in brain regions linked to learning and memory. Practicing mind-body awareness can improve your concentration and mental clarity, helping you stay focused on goals and make better decisions.
Resilience. Mind-body awareness can you develop resilience, enabling you to bounce back from setbacks and navigate challenges with a positive mindset.
Improved Communication. Leaders who are mindful of their own thoughts and positive and negative emotions are better at effective communication and building rapport with their team. This can lead to higher trust and psychological safety.
Where to Start? the Body Scan Practice
When you're just getting started, or need to ground yourself, my go-to mind-body awareness practice is a short body scan. Listen to a 5-minute guided body scan, led by yours truly, or read the steps below.
Find a quiet and comfortable space to sit or lie down. You may close your eyes, if you feel comfortable. Then bring your attention to the physical body. Notice the weight of the body on the chair, floor, or surface that is supporting you.
Now take few deep breaths. Inhale slowly through the nose and out through the mouth. As you inhale allow it to bring energy into the body. As you exhale, allow the body to to relax into the surface that is supporting you.
Now bring your attention to the feet. Notice any sensations, weight, warmth, tingling, or pressure. Take a few breaths to focus on your feet and then slowly move your attention up to the ankles and calves, pay attention to body sensations as you go.
Continue to scan the body, moving upward to your knees, thighs, hips, and stomach. Take note of any areas of tension or discomfort, and with each breath, imagine the tension melting into the surface below you and allow the muscles to soften.
Bring your attention to the chest, shoulders, arms, and hands. Pay attention to any sensations in these areas, such as tightness or lightness. Take a few deep breaths to soften these areas, letting go of any tension.
Finally, shift your attention to the neck, throat, face, and head. Notice any sensations in these areas, such as any areas of clenching or relaxation. With each breath, allow these areas to soften and relax. Soften the jaw.
Take a few moments to just sit with the awareness of your entire body, noticing how it feels as a whole. When you are ready, take a deep breath, gently open your eyes and slowly bring your awareness back to the present moment.
Mind-body practice complete! What's next? There are many types of mind-body practices and mindfulness meditations, from Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction to movement meditation. Experiment and find what works for you.
Mind-body awareness is not just for leadership. It's key to designing a fulfilling, joyful life, too. ✨ Grab you FREE copy of the Boldly Unbounded Blueprint.