Body full of Soul is a series about life. Let your body and soul flourish.
Let’s get a good night’s sleep, shall we? There are endless tips about how to do this, but here are two things you can do anytime to help relax.
Our minds are so much more capable of self-care than we realize. Relaxing and focusing in on certain parts of your body will tell other systems to let down their own guard and rest. We all need rest.
There are small things you can do even at work… even while taking care of wild children… even at the grocery store or in a stressful meeting that will relax you. These same things can help you enter sleep more quickly and with more intentional beauty.
First Try This:
Relax your tongue and jaw.
Let your tongue lay low in your mouth and let your lips part slightly.
(^^That part you can do anywhere. No one will know you are practicing relaxing in their presence^^)
You can take it further and…
Rub your fingers firmly from the inner edges of your eyebrows, along your brow line, gently through your temples to your hairline, and then firmly trace along your hairline, past your ears and against your jaw.
Relax. Breathe. Focus on long exhales.
“Relaxing your tongue and jaw sends a message to your brain stem and limbic system to turn off the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol,” says neuropsychologist Marsha Lucas, PhD (from Prevention.com)
Do this to remind your body that you are safe and can relax.
Second Try This:
If you are looking for a more complete connection between body and spirit before you enter sleep, try a Body Scan Meditation with a Prayer twist.
A great example of a recorded Body Scan Meditation is here at NPR.com.
The purpose Body Scan Meditation is to bring awareness and acceptance to each member of the body without judgement and without trying to fix anything. Sense and notice.
As you lay still, set your mind on the purpose of this time: acceptance and awareness.
Now, begin scanning your attention from your toes to the top of your head. You are going to greet each part of your body with honor and love and awe. Even the sources of pain or discomfort, you will simply notice and send love through taking a deep breath as that part enters your mind or you can gently touch the area with the palms of your hands, if it feels right.
After you have taken your time touring your body, you will end in prayer over your entire body with love. Feel the skin that covers you and knits you all together.
Choose a prayer to lay over each inch of skin that makes you a whole body. You can these just at the end or even all throughout your scan if you find yourself struggling:
“All beautiful you are, My Darling; there is no flaw in you.”
“I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation,
filled with wonder and awe.”
If you are married, you could do the Body Scan Prayer together – let your spouse pray over every single part of you and gently lay their hands on your skin as they pray.