Strong negative emotions such as anger, resentment or jealousy usually
increases neck and shoulder tension and inhibit regeneration and healing.
Not only are we sometimes irritated and frustrated by others, in many
cases we focus our harshest negative feelings on ourselves. We get angry
with our body when we sense pain and become frustrated when we do not heal
quickly enough. We encourage healing and tranquility when we appreciate BODY
How to Appreciate Body Sensations:*
Become aware of the sensations or lack of sensations in your feet. Notice
the sensations without judgment; describe them (e.g., pressure in the ball
of the foot, the ache at the big toe, the warmth in the shoe). Then,
appreciate all the work your feet have done over all the years you have
been alive (e.g., the crawling, the walking, carrying the weight of your
body, kicking the soccer balls, moving your skis). Really list the things
you appreciate: the work they did at time and the abuse they had to
withstand. Continue to appreciate your feet and if your attention wanders
or is distracted or negative thoughts associated with your feet come up,
shift gently back to the positive appreciations of your feet. Continue for
a few minutes.
Repeat this same exercise by focusing your attention to a different body
area. Each time become aware of the sensations without judgment and then
appreciate the many things that body area has done for you.
After having practiced this for a number of times, use the same approach
to areas of your body in which you feel discomfort, such as your
shoulders, back arms, etc. Again, begin by observing the sensations
without judgment, and then appreciate what that body part has done for
Many people report that after practicing many times during the day, they
notice a significant decrease in discomfort.
*Adapted from a presentation by Dr. James Carson at the symposium on
Mindfulness Meditation at the 24th Annual meeting of the Society for
Behavioral Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT, March 19-22, 2003.
Copyright 2003 Erik Peper, Ph.D. and Katherine Hughes Gibney
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