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Internal Sensations

Here are several valid reasons for self-monitoring your internal sensations. Some people have physical problems that can be exacerbated by emotional problems or that are caused by the interaction between emotions and the body. People who suffer from psychosomatic illnesses or those whose illnesses lead to more emotional stress need to identify, at the earliest stage possible, internal physical processes in order to control them and divert their consequences.

Physical symptoms are used to diagnose anxiety, panic, and depression. Palpitations, dizziness, and sweaty palms indicate anxiety; whereas, the inability to sleep, exhaustion, or lack of energy help to identify depression. Depersonalization, another disorder from which certain people suffer, also has a physical aspect. In such cases, people are often disconnected from their bodies and unaware of them. A conscious awareness of the body sensations leads to emotional and physical health. However, this consciousness should be balanced, because an overemphasis on physicality is no better than a total lack of emphasis, for example, when a person is terrified by every little twinge.

If people prone to panic attacks learn to identify physical symptoms that alert them to the possibility that an attack will follow, they can manage it better. In order to teach people who suffer from hypertension how to handle their anger, they must first identify body signals that indicate they are angry. Those who suffer from unreality and detachment need to learn a gentle, non-threatening way to connect to their bodies and the feelings within them,

Biofeedback is one important way to teach body awareness. However, these machines and the technicians who operate them are not always available or feasible. In addition, if people learn how to self-monitor, they will not be solely dependent on an outside source for information about their own bodies. Here are some exercises that will help you develop self-monitoring skills.

1. Body Scanning:

Stand up or lie down. Name each part of your body, starting with the feet or toes, and describe it with a word or phrase. This exercise can be done in two ways.

a. Describe the sensation in the body part (tingling).

b. Use descriptive words, such as “cold” or “hard” to describe body part.

All answers are acceptable including “I feel nothing there.”

2. Relaxation Exercises:

a. Ask each body part to relax.

b. Tense each part and then allow it to relax.

3. Running in Place:

Run in place for one full minute as fast as possible (Do only with physician’s approval). Then lie down on a bed, mat or floor. Experience sensations in your body. This exercise allows you to get in touch with blocks in your body as well as problems with breathing and energy flow.

4. Meditation:

Begin in short sessions, 5 to 10 minutes, set an alarm clock, sit comfortably, eyes closed, focused on breathing, let all thoughts drift away, on each in breath say “in”, and on each out breath say “out”, the objective is to follow the breath in and out of the body, observe it, but do not control it.

5. Draw Your Body:

Make a drawing of your physical body. Mark an “X” where you feel tension. Place a “Y” where you feel relaxed. Place a “0” where you feel numb or have no feeling.

HAVE FUN, Karyne

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