Become Less Clumsy and Other Benefits of Mindful Body Awareness
Body awareness is just one of the many benefits of being mindful. As we practice being Right Here Right Now, we’re more apt to notice what’s happening in and out of our bodies. Developing an awareness of how our bodies feel, how they react to the mind and the environment, how they move, and where they are in physical space can not only help reduce clumsy incidences but also improve health and life in a variety of ways.
Did you know that Body Awareness therapy is being used to help children and adults who struggle with clumsy movement?
—Improved Coordination and Balance—
Studies indicate that people who struggle with clumsy behavior have less of an awareness about their own body parts—and less awareness about where their body is in relation to other people and things. Mindful focus on each part of the body and where it is in the physical space can help develop body awareness—this helps to connect the mind to the mass and movement of the body, improving coordination and balance.
—Maximize Your Health Care and Make Better Health Choices—
According to a BMJ Quality & Safety study, approximately 12 million adults in the U.S. are medically misdiagnosed each year—exponentially more go undiagnosed. People who’ve developed their body awareness are better equipped to recognize when they need intervention and communicate effectively with healthcare professionals—good communication provides more accurate information for better medical diagnosis and decisions.
When messages the body sends are ignored, it can lead to poor health and overall well-being.
—Body Awareness Can Reveal Food Sensitivities—
Allergies, poor sleep patterns, and digestion issues are oftentimes food related. People can become accustomed to having heartburn and headaches—and to feeling bloated, sore, tight, and tired—it becomes their normal—it isn’t until they focus on the sensations in their body that they can acknowledge that it’s trying to tell them something.
Ignoring the body's messages long-term can lead to chronic medical issues that may severely affect quality of life and longevity. Once a person becomes aware of what’s causing their body’s negative responses, motivation can rise up to cut out unhelpful foods and behaviors to replace them with healthier options.
Practicing body awareness during mindful moments helps to develop greater body awareness all the time. A study done by Stephanie Fay, a researcher at Queensland University of technology, found that 75% of people eat when they’re not hungry. Something as simple as noticing whether you’re hungry, not eating unless you are, and stopping when you’re full can go a long way to losing and maintaining a healthy weight.
Social eating is a weight loss stumbling block for a lot of people—if it’s time to sit down to a meal with others and you acknowledge that you’re not hungry, you can make the informed choice to eat less and not indulge in a big meal just because everyone else is.
—Control Body Language—
In his book, Silent Messages—Dr. Albert Mehrabian claims that 93% of communication is non-verbal—other studies support this with stats of 90% or more. People who’ve developed body awareness are cognizant of how they’re sitting, standing, and what expression is on their face—this allows them to communicate what they intend to with their body language. It isn’t uncommon for a person to discover they’ve been perceived in a way that they hadn’t intended because their body language wasn’t in sync with their heart and mind.
—Body Awareness Grounds Us too —
Mindfulness is keeping your thoughts from wandering into the past or present, and instead—focusing your attention on your emotional and physical feelings, and the sensory and relational experiences that are happening Right Here Right Now.
As much as any aspect of mindfulness practice, body awareness pulls a person into the present moment quickly, as focus is directed to the sensations felt throughout the body. When thoughts are focused on the sensations in the body, the mind is kept from obsessing about the past or the future. All the benefits of mindful thinking follow—relaxation, lower heart rates, decreased cortisol levels, enhanced relational connection, and more.
Mindful body awareness engages not just the mind, but also physical feelings in the body and awareness of physical space—for most people, it’s easier to keep the mind clear of chatter when their focus engages multiple points of awareness within a given moment.
~ Cynthia Cartier