There are days when many of us may feel an increased sense of anxiety and stress. This can be a normal response when our routines are disrupted and information changes from day to day. This can also create a sense of fear. Many times, it is the anticipation of what may or may not happen that can contribute to this stress as well. Body scan is taking the time to pause, breathe, and notice how your body is responding to stress and fear. It can be helpful in bringing those sensations back down to a calm level.

Practice this body scan now with Dr. Tim Avery from the Palo Alto VA Medical Center. In this 8-minute video, you’ll be able to slowly bring awareness to how each part of your body is feeling in this moment.

By intentionally calming each part of your body, you may notice your heart rate and your breathing rate coming down as well. These are welcome changes that signal your body is returning to a more balanced state. This practice can help you bring your awareness back to the present moment, and many times, it can help to alleviate some of that anticipatory fear you may be feeling.

Lowering tension and stress can also boost your immune system by decreasing inflammation. Healthy immune systems have a stronger chance at fighting infections.

You have the power to do this type of a body scan anytime, anywhere. Make it a part of your routine today!

More information

To learn more ways to strengthen the power of your mind and relaxation of your stress response, visit the Whole Health website https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/circle-of-health/power-of-the-mind.asp.

For additional tips check out the Veteran Wellness Guide from the Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC) in Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 16: https://www.mirecc.va.gov/visn16/veteran-wellness-guide.asp


Kavitha Reddy, MD FACEP ABoIM, is a national whole health champion with the VHA Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation and Whole Health System Clinical Director for VASTLHCS.

Share this story

Published on Apr. 27, 2020

Estimated reading time is 1.7 min.

Views to date: 508

One Comment

  1. Debra Mackie May 7, 2020 at 2:36 am

    Love ALL these videos! Totally calming. Thank you for putting all this together!

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • What does connection mean to you? Sometimes we might feel connected to other people, nature, or something else bigger than ourselves. Other times we might feel disconnected. In these times, it can be helpful to reconnect with our body and mind.

  • The turkey is roasting. The house is in order. The table is set. What about the guests? Being surrounded by others is one of the greatest gifts of the season.

  • Tai Chi offers a very gentle way to get the blood flowing and it is something you can do at home. If standing movement is not available to you, Tai Chi can also be done in a chair.