Many things are happening in, and around you right now. Some of it you're aware of it, and most of it you're not. Your body, and that includes your brain, creates patterns according to its' experience of what’s most important. It's why you slow down to brake when you see a light turns red, and why a seasoned grappler will tuck their chin when an opponent goes for the choke.
It's the power of habit, and it's inherent in all of us. Habits govern how you think, feel, move, and navigate throughout the world. You improve only when you change your habits. And in order to change your habits, you need to know how to pay attention.
Paying Attention Pays Off
Your body talks to you. It’s language is its' thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It’s the pain of joints, the butterflies of discomfort, and every bodily sensation in between. This sensory feedback is there to guide you. It lets you know when something’s a good idea and when it’s not. It will let you know when something if you need more sleep, or if you have an intolerance to a particular food. It will tell you when you’ve eaten too fast, or too much.
On the mats you feel what's an efficient way and what isn't. You'll feel when you're overtraining, and you'll sense the butterflies of anxiety when you're doing something new. You may feel your feet push into the ground as you attempt a bridge, and you'll check in with the connection of the different parts of your body with your opponent's.
In a world of distraction, your body’s chatter is mostly drowned out by the commotion of what’s around you. Everyday life kicks and screams and the sounds begin to dull. You can hear a little, if even vaguely, but to make out what's being said you need to turn down the noise and tune in to tune up.
The feedback of your body will always guide you on what to do next in order to improve.
Our second cohort of the Precision Nutrition program is at the mind/body scan stage. The mind/body scan is something similar to a meditation. It's a chance to check in with yourself. It doesn’t require a minimum dosage of time, and you can do it anywhere you like.
It’s time to look within. It might feel weird, but that’s OK.
The Mind Body Scan
To begin with, look at your schedule, and plan ahead to find a few minutes of quiet, uninterrupted time. As you get better you can do it anywhere, but for the beginning it helps to have an environment conducive to the practice.
Start by scanning your body from head to toe, noticing all the different parts of your body, and all the physical sensations.
From Pn's habit card:
Notice Physical Sensations
Start at the top of your head and go all the way down to your toes, piece by piece.
See what you notice yourself feeling physically.
- What are you feeling in your eyes? Your ears? Your nose?
- Are you clenching your jaw? Are your facial muscles tight or loose?
- How are you holding your head? Straight? Pushed forward like a turtle? Tilted to one side like a curious dog?
- Is your chest tight or open? How are you breathing — deeply or shallowly?
- Where are your shoulders? Up around your ears? Hunched forward? Hanging loosely? Is one higher than the other?
- Do you feel a breeze on your face? Is it warm or cool in the room? Are you sweating? Shivering?
- Are you wearing a scratchy sweater? Can you feel the label in your shirt?
You get the idea.
Work your way down to your toenails with this step-by-step “scan”.
Then, when you're done with that ask yourself 3 questions:
+ What am I feeling, physically?
+ What am I feeling, emtionally?
+ What am I thinking?
It’s a good idea to record what you notice. And it’s OK if you can’t put to words everything you’re thinking and experiencing.
It’s OK to feel like you’ve been run over by a truck. Or that you’re a little lonely. Or super sore from training yesterday. It’s all OK.
Your task is to collect data like a scientist. The point isn’t to find anything in particular. It’s simply to practice observing your physical sensations, your emotions, and your thoughts.
And, over time, to notice how all of these things might be related. It isn’t a time to judge what you’re feeling, or even to change it. Just notice, observe, and collect data.
How To Make it Easy
In doing this you are learning about yourself, and developing self awareness. This isn’t easy, but you can make it easier for yourself and help yourself to success.
Look for times in your day when you’ll be in a relatively more private and quiet space. Some options include your car before or after your destination, before you sleep or just after waking up, and/or just before or after a jiu jitsu class, or workout. The more you do it the better you’ll get at it.
Use these resource. They're here to help you:
Guided 5 minute Mind Body Scan
This is a great resource from Pn to get you started.
Guided 15 minute Walking Mind Body Scan
As per Pn resources.
Mind Body Scan Worksheet
+ What are you feeling, physically?
+ What are you feeling, emtionally?
+ What are you thinking?
Next Cohort is Coming Up
If you enjoyed this article, and you appreciate expert guidance in all realms of health, and life, you'd love our Precision Nutrition Lean Eating program. We're kicking off our next cohort on 1st December, just in time for the new year.
Enquire for more information here.
1. Tune In to Tune Up to Your Body, Precision Nutrition Lean Eating Program, Berardi J. Scott Dixon, K.
2. Mind body scan Habit card, Precision Nutrition Women's Lean Eating Program. Berardi, J. Scott Dixon, K.
2. Core Workshop Series, 2017, Zoran Kovich. Find more at: www.mindfulactionstudio.com