Mindfulness of emotion in the body
You can practice this exercise whenever you feel stress in daily
Notice your posture on the chair as if you were
seeing yourself from the outside. Feeling your body
humming with sensation. Entering into your body and
into the world of sensations occurring in this very
Now bringing attention to your heart region.
Placing your hand over your heart to reminding yourself
to bring loving attention to your experience.
Finding your breath in the heart region and
beginning to practice mindfulness of breathing. Feeling
your chest move as you breathe. When your mind
wanders, bringing it back to the sensation of breathing.
After a few minutes, releasing your attention to
your breath and letting yourself recall the difficult
emotion. If you wish, remember the situation in which
you felt the emotion.
Now expanding your awareness to your body as a
whole. While you recall the emotion, scanning your body
for where you feel it the most. In your mind’s eye,
sweeping your body from head to toe, stopping where
you can sense a little tension or discomfort.
Now choose a single location in your body where
the feeling expresses itself most strongly, perhaps as a
point of muscle tension or an achy feeling, like a
heartache. In your mind, inclining gently toward that spot
as if you were inclining toward a child or a beloved pet.
Continuing to breathe naturally, allowing the sensation to
be there, just as it is. If you wish, placing your hand over
your heart as you continue to breathe. Allowing the
gentle, rhythmic motion of the breath to soothe your
Now that you have located the stress and emotion in your
body Begin softening into that location in your body. Letting
the muscles be soft without a requirement that they become
soft, like simply applying heat to sore muscles.
Softening...softening...softening... Remember that we are not
trying to make the sensation go away—you are just holding it
in a tender embrace.
If you wish, letting yourself just soften around the
edges, like around the edges of a pancake. No need to go
all the way in.
If you experience too much discomfort with an
emotion, just staying with your breath until you feel
Now, starting to soothe yourself because you
struggle in this way. Perhaps putting your hand over your
heart again and feeling your body breathe. Perhaps
bringing kind or encouraging words to mind, such as, “Oh,
it’s so hard to feel this. May I be kind to myself.” “May I
hold myself in loving awareness.”
If you wish, directing kindness to an
uncomfortable part of your body by placing your hand
over that place. Maybe even thinking of your body as if it
were the body of a beloved child, and gently
Finally, allowing the discomfort to be there.
Letting go of the wish for discomfort to disappear.
Allowing the discomfort to come and go as it pleases, like
a guest in your own home. Allowing...allowing...allowing
Softening...soothing...allowing. Repeating these words like
a mantra, if you wish, reminding yourself to incline with
tenderness toward your suffering.
As you do this exercise you may find that the
emotion moves in your body, or even changes into
another emotion. Try staying with your experience,
continuing to use the technique of soften-soothe-allow.
Slowly open your eyes when you’re ready.
Human Welfare Activist/ Counsellor