Creating a body mind dialogue is a very helpful stress relief technique. Although stress comes from your mind, you often feel it in your body. How you feel stress will be different for you than for your partner or your friends. You may get pains in your stomach, a headache, stiff neck and shoulders, a hollow feeling in your middle, a tight jaw, etc.
I find it really useful when I become aware of a physical pain or sensation that is making me uncomfortable to enter into a conversation with it, to have a body mind dialogue. Doing this makes it possible to really tune into what is happening in my body and mind. And it usually helps to release the discomfort, or at least make it less.
Have a piece of paper and pen handy to make some notes when you've finished.
How to have a conversation with your body
1. Find a time and place where you can concentrate and be undisturbed for 20 minutes or so.
2. Sit or lie down somewhere comfortable and take a mont to tune into your breathing and relax.
3. Become aware of the part of your body which is uncomfortable or painful. Focus on the pain – get a feel for exactly where it is and what it is like.
- What sort of pain is it? – nagging, sharp, dull, throbbing…. Find a word that describes it as well as you can.
- Is it a familiar pain or one you haven’t felt before?
- Does it have a texture? - rough, bumpy, lumpy, spiny, smooth, soft…?
- Does it have a shape? – round, irregular, square, oval…?
- What size is it? – large, small or somewhere in between…
- Does it have a colour? – you may be surprised what colour comes up!
- On a scale of 1 to 10, if 1 is completely comfortable and 10 is severe pain and discomfort, what number would you give it?
Be aware of all this information as you move on to the next step.
4. Now imagine that your pain or discomfort has a voice. What would it like to tell you about itself and about you? What useful information does it have about the way you are living at the moment?
5. Start to ask it questions. For instance:
- Why are you here?
- What do you need to say to me?
- How can I help you?
- What do I need to change?
- Do you have a message for me?
may feel strange at first to be having a conversation with a part of
your body. But just go with it and see what happens. Just do your best to be very relaxed
and open to any answers that may come up. Some may surprise or even
upset you but do not edit them. Let them be what they are. You may
well end up with some very helpful information about your life and how
you can make it easier for yourself.
6. When you feel that the body mind dialogue is complete, remember to say thank you to the part of yourself that is in pain. You might find that the pain has lessened or even disappeared.
7. Take some time to write down what you learnt. It is important to do this because, even though you think you will remember, it is amazing how quickly other things come into your mind and you forget some of the important stuff.
8. You can repeat the body mind dialogue exercise more than once, especially if this pain or discomfort is a longstanding pattern for you. Each time you do it, you will find you receive different messages and information. You will also find that the more time and attention you give to it, the less the pain will bother you.
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