Do you feel like you are a "walking head"? Do you find it difficult to feel your body? Or are you unable to get into the recovery state? These 7 tips help to create space for all the experiences in your life; the beautiful and the less beautiful. They help you to be more present in your body, and get behind the steering wheel of your own life.
7 Tips to become more present in your body
1. Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra is a form of guided meditation accessible to everyone. You listen to a teacher (or recording) and are guided through several steps that put you in a state of deep rest. Your brain waves reach a frequency that is right between being awake and asleep. At this frequency the subconscious is active and the rational brain takes a backseat. In this state, experiences can be easily processed, new insights can be gained, and both your body and your brain have the chance to rest and recover.
Meditating for ten minutes a day already has a very positive effect on your mood and well-being. You train yourself to stay present. If you dissociate easily, you can focus on experiencing your body during meditation.
Everything starts with the breath. For that reason, there are many different breathing techniques taught. Diaphragmatic breathing is calming for your nervous system and grounding your body. The diaphragm is located between your lower ribs and runs down your vertebrae to your lower back. It separates your lungs from the organs in your abdomen. On the inhale, the diaphragm moves down and out in your lower back. As you inhale, focus on breathing down into the abdomen and the flanks of your lower back (rather than up into the chest). Let your belly expand freely. On exhalation, the diaphragm moves up again, the abdomen contracts and the lungs empty.
Keep a journal and reflect on your days experiences. By writing down your experiences at the end of the day, you train yourself to be more present during the day and to consciously register what you do and what you experience.
5. Move and dance
The fastest way to get into your body and feel it fully again is to move. Many of our movements are structured and we repeat them daily. We perform them without any awareness. Break out of your routine and move freely, dance in your living room and stretch your body. Do the this once without following a fixed series posture. Follow what feels good in your body. Or book a sports class of that you normally never take.
Singing makes you happy, stimulates the vagus nerve, calms the autonomic nervous system and helps you to release tension. So put on your favourite song and sing along. Do not you dare? Humming has the same effect and who knows, you might one day shamelessly switch to the real deal.
7. Trauma Release Exercises (TRE)
TRE is a form of releasing tension through the body. A TRE provider guides you through different exercises that designed to active the bodies innate tremor mechanism. In this way you can let your nervous system rid itself of accumulated tension while being in a state of deep relaxation. It is important to get started with a certified provider, ideally with a broader background as a therapist. After a number of sessions you can continue the practice on your own.
Dissociation: what is it exactly?
Dissociation is a broad term used to describe different levels of detachment from your environment and/or from a physical and emotional experience. Just like in a state of rest, your heart rate is often low when you dissociate, as is your blood pressure. You can even relax your eyes. However, your breathing is usually superficial in this state and you are not really present, which is also noticeable in social interactions.