Awareness -  The Ultimate Healing Tool
By Ric Chamberlin, LMT

"I didn't realize how sore I was until I got on the table".

I lost count, years ago, of how many times I have heard that statement during sessions with clients in my
office. Why do I hear it so often?
We live in a busy "doing" world. We have tasks we need to accomplish and we set our focus on those
and often tune out other things, including our bodies.
When we finally give ourselves a moment to let go of our external responsibilities and bring attention
back into ourselves we are surprised to find out what we have been tuning out in the way of physical
aches and pain, unhealthy posture, and more.

Roadblocks to Balance
Our bodies have built in systems that allows us to deal with stress. When stress presents itself we go
into an adrenaline mode. Hormones are released that boost oxygen and other chemicals to the brain
and muscles, while suppressing other non-emergency functions of the body.
This is a marvelous feature that allows us to navigate our way through very stressful situations. The
problem is that too much time spent in the stress mode can have a negative impact on our body. Often
times we stay stuck in that mode even after the stressful situation has passed.

What is the Solution?
We still need to take care of our external responsibilities but we can do this while bringing in a little
balance. We can break away from our "doing" tasks periodically, redirecting our focus back to our
bodies, allowing ourselves to just "be" for a while. Even a 10 or 15 second break can work wonders in
restoring the comfort and balance we need.

Why Does Noticing Our Bodies Help Us?
Our body has many built in balancing mechanisms. If you think about it, so many things happen without
any conscious effort on our part. We don't have to think about breathing, it just happens. Our heart
beats on its own, our temperature is regulated. When we walk we don't fall over, even though we walk on
only two legs. Our body is constantly sensing where we are in space and time and sending information
to our brain which sends back signals to the body to make minute changes that keep us balanced and
upright. When we allow it "our body knows what to do".
Bringing our awareness to our body helps strengthen its innate ability to keep us in balance.

How Do We Do This?
Break your focus on your task, the computer screen in front of you, the dishes you are washing, the
grass you are mowing. This may be hard to give ourselves permission to do. When we are in the "doing"
mode it is easy to want to forge ahead. We are on a roll. We want to get the task done. It feels good to
accomplish something. But taking a 30 second break, or even less, can allow us to continue refreshed
and more balanced. We are less likely to slip deeply into uncomfortable postures that lead to pain.
After breaking contact with your task bring your focus to your body. Just notice what you notice. Don't try
to change or fix anything. Just notice. Fixing is a "doing" thing. We want to just "be" for the moment. After
awhile we can return our focus to the task in front of us. It takes little away from the time required for the
task and can reap great benefits in our wellness.

What other things can I do to increase my awareness?
After breaking contact with your work and focusing on your body try these techniques to further your
awareness:

  • Move Around
    Stand up if you have been sitting. Move around a little. Ask you body what it wants. If you have
    been hunched forward over a desk maybe you back would like to stretch backwards a bit. Give
    your body what it wants. Movement improves the flow of fluids and energy plus it gives the body
    more information about itself, increasing awareness.

  • Focus on Your Breathing
    Take slow deep breaths. Bring your attention to the breath going in and then going out. Do this
    for as long as you want. Even pausing for one breath can be beneficial.

    This simple exercise takes less than 30 seconds but is a powerful tool to improve posture, get
    energy flowing, and bring awareness back to the body. For details read this article.

  • Focus on Your Feet
    Often times our "doing" tasks involve thinking. We end up with most of our energy in the upper
    body supporting the thinking process. This makes it easy to lose touch with our legs. Simply
    stopping and bringing focus to our feet can redirect energy to the lower body improving your
    sense of groundedness. Simply asking yourself "where are my feet" is an easy way to change the
    focus of your energy. Our energy follows our thought!

  • Focus on the Pain
    Focus on a specific part of the body that has pain. Don't try to fix it or judge it, just be present with
    it. Often times just focusing our awareness, without judgment, allows the pain to change on it's
    own. Remember, "our body knows what to do". Sometimes we just need to refocus our awareness.

These techniques can help increase your awareness of your body but the important thing is to allow
yourself to break the pattern and refocus your awareness. Even a few seconds can help.

How often and for how long should I stop and refocus my awareness?
There is no one answer for everyone. As you practice this more you will get better at reading your stress
level and knowing just what you need. In general, although a 30-60 minute walk can work wonders, over
the course of a full day 30 second breaks every half hour may be more beneficial than a 30 minute
break once a day.

The length of time spent is less important than just taking the time to focus on yourself.



As always

Be gentle with yourself


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Ric Chamberlin
Registered Practitioner - Society of Ortho-Bionomy International ®
Licensed Massage Therapist - State of Nebraska
The Healing Connection
900 S 74th Plaza, Suite 116, Omaha, NE  68114
402 850 0752
Art by Jacqueline Bequette - ŠThe Healing Connection