This is one example of the kind of guided meditations I lead my patients in during clinical sessions. It is a simple way to begin the settling and embodiment process for those not used to relating to their body. It’s also the place to start when learning to self-regulate.
Self-regulation is a term used by the field of affective neuroscience to describe an individual’s ability to consciously and unconsciously manage and modify arousal states. It describes an the ongoing process of finding an equilibrium of the whole in the face of change. Learning how to self-regulate is fundamental to the manifestation and maintenance of health over time. The foundation of self-regulation is embodiment. The only way to begin learning how to be embodied is by developing a relationship with the body. This is done through finding the body in space and being present with the changes happening on a physiological level without expectation or judgment, but rather with an ever expanding sense of curiosity. Another word for this is mindfulness.
Illustration by Rex Twedt
There’s no one who hasn’t experienced the richness of their own blood when bleeding from a cut. To some people the sight of blood is gross or scary, to some fascinating and beautiful. The fact that we bleed when cut means we’re healthy, it means the heart, in conjunction with the blood vessels, is working well.
Everything we do, according to the body, involves the heart because the heartbeat reaches every part of our body. The heart beats in our eyes, in our mouth and lips, in our ears, in every millimeter of our skin. When we touch things, see things, hear things, walk, jump, breath, our heart is inherently involved.
Northern Hemisphere by John Pinkerton
Each different part influences and is influenced by the others. If a part of a system changes, the environment surrounding that part becomes altered, reshaping itself in response to the change. As the environment is reshaped, the part itself as well as the surrounding parts must adapt to the change in the environment, initiating yet another change. This pattern continues such that the part(s) and the environment are in constant flux. Therefore, regardless of whether it is the environment that begins a change or a part(s), if one part of any system changes the other components of that system must inherently follow.
The above dynamic is applicable to everything, including relationships. A common theme of discussion in my office is stress, and a lot of the stress that is talked about results from difficult relationship dynamics. The main focus tends to be: why won’t this person in my life change? It can be: change behavior, change lifestyle, change attitude, change language, change habits, etc. I often find myself saying, you either accept them for who they are as they are now or you decide to change.
True Feels by Angelo
Sometimes it’s hard to get up in the morning and remember that today is not the same as yesterday. Often that’s because today looks the same as yesterday. The routine is the same, the people are the same, the problems are the same, and the thoughts and emotions are the same. On the surface everything looks the same, and yet there is very little about today that is actually the same as yesterday.
The spine is the body’s midline. It runs from the base of the skull through all 24 vertebrae to the sacrum, ending at the coccyx. It connects the top, middle, and bottom of the body and is the body’s structural and functional center. All movement is accomplished by balancing the tension between external forces and internal architecture, with the spine as the pivot around which these forces are negotiated and redistributed. Sensory input comes in from the periphery through the dorsal root ganglion (from the back of the body) into the spine and up at lightning speed to brain centers for processing. Motor output, in response to interpreted sensory input, leaves the brain, travels down the spine and branches off from the ventral root (from the front of the body) toward the periphery at the level needed to initiate action for change in muscles, organs, and tissues.