4th week: body awareness

What is body awareness?

Body awareness can be thought of as something that is generated by three observation systems. Interoception means a collection of various bodily sensation observations. These include sensations of pain, temperature, itching, muscle tension, oxygen deprivation, discomfort caused by stomach acidity, intestinal tension and skin touch. In turn, kinaesthesia means the ability to sense motions of the body and its parts without vision. Together with equilibrioception (the sense of balance), they paint a comprehensive picture of the physiological state of the body. 

Interoceptive sensitivity – how sensitive we are to our body’s internal messages – is an individual and relatively permanent trait. People with high interoceptive sensitivity also have strong emotions. Our experience of emotions and our observations of the internal experiences of the body are conveyed through the same brain regions. 

Interoceptive sensitivity alone does not lead to anxiety. But when it is combined with a tendency to interpret bodily sensations negatively or as being stronger than they actually are, it may make a person susceptible to anxiety. 

Exercises for the week

Great, you are already past the halfway point in this self-care programme. This has required persistence and determination from you. This week’s exercises focus on increasing body awareness. Please note that the exercises are not suitable for situations in which you are experiencing severe anxiety. If you find that your anxiety increases during these exercises, you can do them in short bursts. Remember to have compassion for yourself.

  • finger breathing 2
  • body scan
  • leaning exercise
  • tension and release
  • observing your breathing