Posts tagged presence
Posts tagged presence
From this blog post. This is a good list for folks who struggle with dissociation, depersonalization, and dysphoria.
Focus on a body part. Notice your right fingertip or your left knee. How does it feel? Does it hurt? Is it cool or warm? Do you feel a breeze? When I first tried this exercise, I found it almost impossible to feel anything if it didn’t hurt. If my left elbow was just floating in space, I couldn’t feel it, but I could feel it if I touched it or rubbed it against something else. If you’re having the same problem, notice how your body part feels when you stroke it with a feather or brush it against the carpet.
Name your sensation. Although words come from the mind, they can help connect the mind and the body by giving name to what you feel. For example, I’ve been skiing in Lake Tahoe for two weeks, so right now, my right cheek feels warm from a little bit of sun and windburn. My left thigh feels energized, achy, and cool under my thin pants in the snow. Be specific with the words you choose - does your body part feel stiff, loose, light, heavy, tingly, warm, cold, sensitive, numb, strong, weak, painful? Try to avoid describing your sensation in general terms that don’t employ at least one of the five senses. Be specific.
Practice movement. Dancing, practicing yoga, hiking, cycling, skiing, and other such physical activity can make you more aware of your body - what feels yummy and what hurts! Even pain can be a teacher about body awareness, so don’t be afraid to lean into what you feel.
Use the floor. When I was taking Nia dance classes, I had the hardest time feeling my body when my body parts were floating in space. Then I discovered dancing on the floor. By rolling around on the floor, my body had something to be in relationship with. I could feel how my knee felt on the floor instead of just how it felt in the air.
Optimize clothing. Wearing loose fitting clothes that brush against your skin when you move can help too. I tend to wear tight-fitting clothes like leggings and leotards when I dance, hike, or take yoga. But when I tried the same activities while wearing free-flowing skirts and shirts with loose sleeves, I felt my body in a whole new way.
Get sexual. Nothing like a good orgasm to help you notice your body!
When trying to make a decision, notice how your body is responding. That guy who asked you out? How does your body feel - light or heavy? New job offer? Does your body feel open or closed? Your body is your compass. Pay attention.
Listen to your body’s messages. When I had less experience being in my body, massage therapists would ask me before a massage whether I had any problem areas. I always said no - and then they found every tight spot on me! Ignoring the warning signals from the body predisposes you to injury and fails to catch illness before it becomes severe. Now, after learning from the whispers of my body (as I described here in my TEDx talk), I pay more attention to the whispers of my body as both preventative medicine and treatment.
Ask your body “What do you need in order to heal?” Trust the answers.
Breathe. When you pay attention to your breathing, it helps center you into your body.