Stress Management Techniques: Body Scan

Sandi Anders, MDiv, RYT, CSC

A Guided Body Scan Facilitates Relaxation

A guided body scan -- which encourages the listener to find and release muscular tensions -- promotes deep relaxation, as most of us carry unnecessary contraction in some of our muscles. The location of chronic muscle tension can vary from person to person.

In a body scan, you move your attention into different parts of your body and release any felt sensations of tension or discomfort. With practice, you can become more aware of your tension and find ways to release it.

Letting go of physical tension promotes soothing and a calm, tranquil mind.

"Mini" Body Scan to Try Right Now:

You can experience a "mini-body scan" in this moment as you are reading.

Start with deep, relaxed breathing.

Then when you are ready, focus your attention sequentially through your body, starting at your head and slowly moving through your entire body all the way down to your toes.

Within each section of your body, pause a moment and scan for tightness, tension, or chronic pain. Begin to allow yourself to let go of any discomfort or tension that you notice.

You can also visualize sending the warmth of your in-breath into the discomfort, and then, with the out-breath, release and dissolve the tension.

Previous articles in this series -- Stress Management Techniques: Diaphragmatic Breath »

Next article in this series -- Stress Management Techniques: Meditation »