When was the last time you stopped to think about and thank your body? It’s easy to be critical, annoyed or bothered by your perception of your body’s limitations. Whether from aches and pains or movements that you used to be able to do with ease—but now struggle with—we tend to notice our body’s limitations more than we notice its abilities.

Body scan, or being grateful for the ways that your body supports you, is a daily practice that can improve your life in many ways. The next time you take a walk or go up a flight of stairs, notice your leg muscles and how they move as you take each step. Notice how your arms swing to support the movement. Notice your shoulders, neck and abdomen. The whole body engages with each step. It truly is a miracle how well it all comes together without much conscious thought. This practice of noticing and appreciating the movements of your body is something that can also be practiced while you are seated in a chair or even lying down.

Body Scan

Take some time to listen to Dr. Christiane Wolf’s beautiful recording as she teaches us to be grateful for our own body and mind.

As you practice this skill and shift your attention from “what’s the matter with you” to “what matters to you,” you may notice that you feel energized and more capable of taking on the day’s challenges.

There are many ways to do gratitude practices. Try writing down three things you are grateful for each day or sharing one thought of gratitude with a friend, colleague or relative. Whichever method you choose, remind yourself often of the things that are going well in your life. Gratitude is empowering and healing and can support your whole health.

More information

For more information on gratitude practices, check out these resources: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/circle-of-health/mindful-awareness.asp.

By Andrea Young

Health Systems specialist with VHA's Office of Patient Centered Care & Cultural Transformation

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Published on Jul. 25, 2022

Estimated reading time is 1.6 min.

Views to date: 773

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