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Serenity For Your Soul: Connecting The Body

Thank you for finding Time To Restore! 

 

Today it’s time for the element of the physical body in connection with your other elements of life. The body is the place that holds and processes everything you go through.  All of your feelings, experiences, and relationships impact the functions within the body.   

 

Have you ever noticed the way your body feels in connection with emotions, thoughts, or relational experiences?  Paying attention to your body is an essential aspect of improving mental health, managing stress, processing grief, and recovering from traumatic experiences.  Learning to notice and work with the body involves skill that takes time and ongoing practice.  Usually, the skills require some amount of support from a trained professional.   

 

A good therapeutic relationship (like with a counselor or therapist) can help you develop skills and target the unique impact on your body from your own experiences.  Factors like personality traits, perceptions, and body chemistry differ for each person.  Because of that, a trained professional can help sort specifically what affects you, the impact, and potentially where it came from in your life.   

 

A skilled guide is essential to the healing process.  This means you will not be able to find a complete healing plan through the internet.  But, there are some things you can begin to do on your own!  Below is a restorative practice meant to isolate stress in the body and respond in a therapeutic way.   

 

In my private practice, I work with clients to guide how to differentiate the body from the other elements.  The goal is not to separate the element of the body from the others since they cannot be separated.  It is to turn attention specifically on the element of the body and consider what is happening there. Once the client begins to practice various tools to respond to the body itself, we explore the connection of the issue with the elements of spirit, mind, emotions, and relationships for an integrated healing approach. 


Practically, this looks different for everyone. A mild example is like the way your chest tightens whenever your spouse forgets to pay that bill, again. Or the heat you feel when your toddler or teenager is pushing every boundary. Maybe the tension in your neck, exhaustion or confusion you feel as waves of grief come over you. The tension in your head whenever you feel misunderstood or unheard by a parent. There are many more examples of every day physical tension we encounter on various levels.


If you are not soothing or moving your body through the emotion, it gets trapped in your body and can really affect your overall health. Integrated healing happens when you can connect the body with the emotional, mental, or relational distress. Do not mistake the burst of energy and happiness from movement for overall health and well being. It is a massive factor, but the body element is only responsible for it's designated function in your whole existence. If you are just moving, you will feel better. Movement gives your body all kinds of beneficial endorphins and helps cleanse toxins. That does not mean that that the other elements have processed the issue.


With that in mind, here is a small restorative practice you can try. There are many other tools and practices for the body that we will visit in other posts so stay tuned!


See if you notice the difference from before you do it and after.

 

RESTORATIVE PRACTICE 

 

Take a moment right now to pay attention to any tension in your body.  Maybe you have heard of breathing and counting for anxiety.  This is similar to the breath practice for anxiety. Instead of the breath cycle to reduce anxiety, breath and mindfulness together are used to relax the body.  Mindfulness is simply being aware of something and then focusing your attention toward it.   


Where might you be feeling uncomfortable but not even notice?  For example, you may have tightness and discomfort in your shoulders, chest, or abdomen.  You may be used to this discomfort and you rarely pay attention to where it is coming from or what it might be connected to specifically.  As you recognize tension in your body, follow the steps below.

 

  1. Focus attention to the tense area   

  1. Inhale deep for 4 counts

  1. Hold for 2 counts 

  1. On your exhale, let tension in that part of the body release 

  1. Exhale 4 counts   

  1. Repeat 

 

Do you feel the difference in just two breaths?  Even if it is subtle, that little moment of pairing your breath with relaxing the muscles helps you experience peace in the body.  Practice it regularly and this can be a part of learning a lifestyle of integrated wellness.  


Tip

If you want to add a small promise from scripture while you are practicing this, you are integrating the element of your spiritual life!

Some examples to pick from are listed here. Just focus on one at a time.

"God is an ever present help in time of trouble" Psalm 46:1b;

"Be still and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10;

"Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” Isaiah 40:31;

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and he saves those who are crushed in spirit" Psalm 34:18

"Those who mourn shall be comforted" Matthew 5:4

" God saves the needy from the clutches of the powerful so the poor have hope and injustice shuts its mouth" Job 5:15-16

 

I hope you feel better than when you arrived!  Come on back to find more time to restore. 



 

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