Increasing Your Emotional Intelligence | Introduction to Body Scanning
Are you looking to increase your emotional intelligence? Here is a great way to build a stronger connection between your mind and your body.
The body scan is a meditation technique where you learn to reconnect with your body by systematically focusing on the body parts and their physical sensations. It has been known for a long time that emotional and physical sensations are intertwined. Recent research has also shown that the different areas in our body “feel” different emotions as well as that those sensations correlate to each of those emotions.
Every emotion is expressed in three plans: body (physical), feelings, and behavior. For example, an emotional reaction of fear occurs automatically and unconsciously, triggering physical changes such as mouth dryness, muscle contraction, and heart racing. The feeling of fear occurs after we become aware in our brain of such physical changes – only then we start experiencing the feeling of fear.
According to meditation experts, it is vital to develop mindfulness around your body in order to become more aware of your emotions and to have better control of them. Emotional awareness and emotional control are some of the main features of highly developed emotional intelligence (EQ).
Here is how to use the body scan to explore your emotions and boost emotional intelligence.
How Body Scanning Helps Improve Emotional Awareness?
The body scan provides better awareness of the physical sensations that arise when you are experiencing a certain emotion. It also allows you to identify emotions that arise faster and become more mindful of them. In turn, emotional awareness allows you to choose how you will respond to those emotions consciously. In other words, body scanning empowers emotional control.
To be more aware of your emotions and to understand them better, pay attention to your body. Here’s how you can use the body scan to achieve better emotional awareness.
To get the body scanning started, sit or lie comfortably and close your eyes. Use the meditation method that best suits you to calm your mind and relax your body.
Spend around one minute mentally scanning your head, from the very top down to your eyebrows. Slowly move attention from one part of your head to another, feeling any sensation that appears.
Move down from the eyebrows and bring your attention to the face: your eyes, nose, lips, cheeks, and chin. Observe and feel the sensations on each part of your face.
The Neck and Shoulders
Move your attention to the bottom of your scalp and move down your neck and to your shoulders. Spend around one minute feeling sensations in this area of your body.
Scan the front and the back of your torso separately. Start from your shoulders and move all the way to your pelvis, feeling the sensations in this area for one minute.
Legs and the Whole Body
Focus on one leg and then on another all the way to your toes. Then, spend the minute focusing your attention on the whole body.
The Body Scan Benefits
The body scan allows you to focus on bodily sensations rather than emotions. Why is this important? Because focusing on the physical sensations of an emotion instead of the knowledge of that emotion allows you to recognize the emotion faster. This boosts emotional awareness and control, therefore improving your emotional intelligence.
Studies show that body scanning can also help reduce stress, improve your focus, and increase psychological wellbeing.