A body scan is another mindfulness tool we can use to check in with ourselves. Knowing that our minds and bodies are connected, we realized this tool can be used to help calm our bodies and minds - helping us work through a strong emotion or relax before bed. A body scan can be used to practice holding our attention on one thing (focus on your toes) and then change to bring our attention to something else (focus on your feet). We talked about how often we need to do this during our day (focus on math, then focus on lunch, then focus on reading, etc.) and that practicing a body scan help to ease transitions and improve focus. A short body scan can even be done while sitting or standing - to refocus while we're working or to check in with our bodies before an exciting event. Below, please find the script for a body scan similar to the one we did in class. Remember, this is just an example. You can make it shorter to practice focus - or longer to relax - just vary the number of body parts and amount of time spent on each one.
BODY SCAN: (Note: go at your own pace, leaving a short or long pause between each body part. Notice if it feels hot, cold, tight, tingly, etc. Try not to say anything, just notice.) Lay on your back with your hands on your belly. Take a few big, slow, silent mindful breaths. Notice your belly rise as you breathe in and fall as you breathe out. Put your hands by your side and bring your attention to your toes. Now focus on your feet - the tops and the bottoms. Bring your attention to your ankles. Now focus on the bottom part of your legs, where your shins are. Bring your attention to your knees. Focus on the top part of your legs where your thighs are. Now bring your hands back to your belly and take a few more mindful breaths. Focus on your belly. Move your hands to your heart. Take a few mindful breaths here, noticing how your chest rises and falls with your breath. Place your arms back by your sides and think about your shoulders. Shrug them up by your ears and let them relax back down. Bring your attention all the way down your arms to your fingers. Spread your fingers wide and then relax them. Squeeze your hands in a fist and then relax them. Move your attention to your neck and focus on your neck muscles as you slowly turn your head to one side. Slowly turn your head to the other side. Turn your head back to the middle. Bring your attention to your face. Without making a sound, open your mouth wide and give your jaw a stretch. Close your mouth and focus on your nose. Scrunch it up a few times and notice how that feels. Focus on your eyebrows and try to move them up and down a few times. Turn your attention to the top of your head - where your hair touches your head. Bring your hands together and rub them together quickly for a few seconds. Place your fingers gently on your eyes. Does it feel warm? Can you feel your eyelashes on your fingers when you blink? Notice what you feel. Bring your hands back to your belly and take a few mindful breaths. Before you get up, send a little gratitude to your body for being so amazing or say something kind to yourself.
*Family Challenge: Try this body scan or design your own and share it with someone in your family. Remember, there is not a "right" or "wrong" way to do a body scan. Be creative and have fun!