The Wisdom of Body Awareness

body awareness


Body awareness is any form of awareness that is directed toward our physical appearance, movement, and sensations.

There are many different ways a person can improve their body awareness through different forms of meditation.

For example, a “breathing meditation” focuses on the sensations of breathing, a “walking meditation” focuses on the sensations of walking, and an “eating meditation” focuses on the sensations of eating.

Each one of these meditations above focuses on a different aspect of body awareness, and there are many more.

This article focuses on specific ways improving your body awareness can benefit your life.


Self-acceptance

Body awareness is nonjudgmental awareness.

The idea is to passively observe your body and its actions without thinking in terms of “good” vs. “bad,” or “attractive” vs. “unattractive.”

Instead, just act like a scientist who is observing a specimen under a microscope. Detach yourself from personal criticism, and just be interested in perceiving, understanding, and accepting your body exactly as it is.

This nonjudgmental awareness toward our bodies helps foster greater self-acceptance. We learn to appreciate our bodies more for what they are, what they do, and what they make possible, and thereby let go of constant judgment and social comparison.

No matter what kind of body awareness you practice, the goal is to always learn and accept yourself in the process.


Stress management

When you become more aware of your body and its sensations, you become more likely to notice stress, anxiety, and tension.

This is useful because body awareness gives you the knowledge of when it’s time to step back, take a break, or not over work yourself.

When you’re hungry, you know it’s time to eat. When you’re tired, you know it’s time to take a break. And when you have to go to the bathroom, you know it’s time to excuse yourself.

Without body awareness, we often ignore these important signals that our bodies send us. And when we suppress these basic needs for rest, nutrition, and digestion, they can often have negative consequences on our physical and mental well-being.

With greater awareness, we can better respond to our body’s wants and needs.


Emotional intelligence

Most emotions have both a mental and physical component.

For example, when we are nervous, we may feel a twisting in our stomach. Or when we are angry, we may feel our heart rate increase. Or when we are embarrassed, we may feel our face blush.

Often times these physical aspects of our emotions begin before we even realize what we’re feeling. So by improving your body awareness, you can also more easily identify and understand your emotions based on these small changes in your body.

Our minds and bodies are often way more interconnected than we realize. By understanding how your body works, you also better understand how your mind works.

Body awareness is a part of the broader scope of self-awareness.


Health-related behaviors

As you improve body awareness, you better understand your body and its daily habits.

For example, you’re more likely to witness how your body responds to certain urges and desires, like eating something unhealthy, or not wanting to exercise, or smoking a cigarette.

These habits are usually automatic. But as you become more aware of these reactions you are in a better position to reverse these negative patterns. You become more aware of the cues your body sends out to do something, and you can change your response to those cues.

Body awareness also makes you more sensitive to how certain food and drinks react with your body and how they make you feel. This can be useful in helping you cut out foods that cause a negative reaction with you.


Body language

A final benefit to body awareness is paying more attention to your body language.

We communicate a lot through our posture, gestures, and facial expressions. When you improve your body awareness, you become more aware of the signals you are sending out to others through these forms of nonverbal communication.

We are constantly communicating through our body language, yet often times we are completely unaware of the signals our body is sending.

With body awareness, and being a little more mindful of our body language throughout the day, we can improve our posture and how we communicate with others.


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