Body awareness can be a difficult task for most of us. We are so preoccupied with our lives we don’t realize our bodies lack energy, and proper physical health, our minds are overworked, and more. This can result in future problems with all aspects of our overall health: mental, physical, and emotional.
We need to start taking care of our bodies, but we might not know what’s wrong. Whether it’s long-term or right at that moment, listening to what your body needs is called body awareness. Body awareness can be the tool that helps your health over time.
What is Body Awareness?
Body awareness is when you are self-aware of your bodily functions, this includes the muscles, joints, and mental state. This involves being aware of physical cues of your anatomy. For example, if your back is sore or if your lips are dry, that can mean you overworked your body while doing a task and that you’re thirsty.
Benefits of Body Awareness
There are many benefits to body awareness in the physical and emotional sense; but here is a list of the three basics.
A strong mind and body connection: Having a strong mind and body connection can help with your balance and stability. Being able to walk and catch yourself before a potential injury, or directly going to your everyday tasks without hesitancy. Having that confidence and stride gives your mind focus.
Weight and Pain Management: When it comes to our weight, evidence shows that body awareness helps those cues of when you are hungry or thirsty. According to a psychological study by Randi P. Proffitt Leyva, people who lack body awareness eat more absent-mindedly when they aren’t truly hungry. This can increase body weight over time. As for being in pain, body awareness reduces pain.
People who suppress pain have lower self-esteem less physical contact and depressive symptoms. According to a research study by Holger Cramer, Romy Lauche, Wolf Mehling, and more, if you are more aware of the pain and how to reduce the damage have more confidence, self-acceptance, and less sensory pain.
Improvement of Mental and Emotional Health: Not being aware of what your body needs can cause poor mental health care. Having a proper mental indicator of what you truly need can help reduce anxiety, depression, and vertigo. Part of mental health can be figuring out when your mind wanders into a negative space and what triggered it.
An example of an emotional situation is body shame. This is an issue that many individuals have because they lack confidence. Having intense emotions that are negative about oneself is needed, however, validating and accepting who you are is the next step. No one is perfect and being aware of your body as it is, is something to acknowledge. Figuring out your emotions about your body or anything that is stressing you out is important to keep your mind balanced and also your body healthy.
Top 5 Tips For Body Awareness
So, what can you do to improve your body awareness? There are many kinds of mental and physical exercises you can put into practice. These are the top five recommended.
1 Meditation: Meditation is a great practice to promote relaxation and become more attuned to the senses and sensations in your body. There are many simple and rigorous practices you can try. You can go on YouTube, take a class, or even do Yoga. There are opportunities to focus your mind and breathing. This can improve a clear mind and nimble body. A guided meditation for five to ten minutes can be a great improvement.
2 Sensation v Pain: Part of listening to your body and distinguishing what is just a sensation or pain is crucial. Physical sensations happen on a regular and exploring signals indicate you are physically unwell. This will help you be aware of your physical limitations, thus decreasing any pain.
3 Mindfulness: The mind can be a calm and chaotic place. Taking time to focus on what you are doing is key. We can get distracted easily and attention is what will help with your awareness of your surroundings, others, and especially your body. Your sensory cues will improve and you are most likely to complete tasks more efficiently and avoid unnecessary physical altercations and mental concerns such as anxiety, worriedness, or panic.
4 Body Scan Exercise: This exercise is about scanning the sensations through your body. This will give you the ability to process sensory information such as pain, pressure, and tightness. It can also help recognize internal body sensations (hunger, thirst, exhaustion, etc…) Throughout our daily routines, we tend to ignore certain signals our body gives us. But if we can improve the connection by using this exercise you can recognize negative sensations faster.
5 Core Strengthening: Having a physical therapist can be a great way to start core strengthening. An example of what type of exercise increases core strength is Pilates. The core isn’t something we consider a priority; however, it can increase body awareness when put into practice. Good core stability helps you be more balanced with your movements through your limbs and improve movement patterns such as physical activity and walking.
Body awareness comes with time, knowing what it is and how to put these practices into your daily routine. You can have more control over your body and what happens to it. By improving your body awareness, you can potentially boost your mental and emotional health, weight and pain management, and balance. Make the time to explore what body awareness is, what the focus points are of body awareness, and how the practices you can do to improve your health for the future.