Have you ever experienced a wave of difficult emotions that seem to come out of nowhere? Maybe you suddenly feel anxious, angry, or overwhelmed, and you’re not sure why. It can be frustrating to try and manage these emotions, especially when you can’t pinpoint the source of your distress.

But did you know that our bodies play a crucial role in regulating our emotions? Becoming aware of our body sensations can help us better understand and manage our emotions. In this article, we’ll explore why body awareness is important for emotional regulation and how body scan meditation can help improve body awareness.

Why Body Awareness is Key to Emotional Regulation: How Body Scan Meditation Can Help You Manage Difficult Emotions

Body Awareness and Emotional Regulation

Body awareness and emotional regulation are two sides of the same coin. By becoming more aware of our bodies and the physical sensations we experience, we can gain greater control over our emotional experiences. It’s like having an early warning system that tells us when our emotions are starting to get out of hand.

I remember one time when I was feeling really anxious before a big presentation. My heart was pounding, my palms were sweaty, and I was having trouble catching my breath. I tried to push through it and just focus on my notes, but the anxiety was only getting worse. That’s when I decided to try a body scan meditation.

I closed my eyes and started to scan my body from head to toe, paying attention to any areas that felt tense or uncomfortable. As I did this, I noticed that my shoulders were hunched up and my jaw was clenched. I consciously relaxed these areas and took a few deep breaths. Amazingly, I could feel my anxiety starting to dissipate. By the time I was done with the meditation, I felt much calmer and more focused.

Our bodies are intimately connected to our emotional experiences. When we experience emotions, we often feel physical sensations in our body. For example, anxiety may be accompanied by a racing heartbeat, shallow breathing, or tightness in the chest. Anger may be accompanied by a feeling of heat in the face or tension in the neck and shoulders.

When we become more aware of our body sensations, we can use that information to regulate our emotions. For example, if you notice that your body is feeling tense and your breath is shallow, you might take a few deep breaths to calm yourself down. This can be especially helpful when you’re experiencing difficult emotions that seem to be overwhelming.

Research has shown that body scan meditation can be a powerful tool for improving body awareness and emotional regulation. One study found that people who practiced body scan meditation for eight weeks showed significant improvements in their ability to regulate their emotions. Another study found that body scan meditation was effective in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

So, if you’re struggling with difficult emotions, I highly recommend trying a body scan meditation. It’s a simple and effective way to become more attuned to your body sensations and use that information to regulate your emotions. And who knows, you might even discover some tension in your body that you didn’t even realize was there – like that time I found out I was clenching my jaw during a presentation! Remember, our bodies are often trying to tell us something, and by listening to them, we can better take care of ourselves both emotionally and physically.


Cautions: If you have experienced physical abuse or trauma in the past, it is not recommended to do this practice without a trained professional. Additionally, if you notice intense fear or other strong emotions related to a particular part of the body, please discontinue this practice.

Body Scan Meditation and Body Awareness

Body scan meditation is a wonderful practice that can help you tune in and become more aware of your body sensations. It’s like giving your body a massage from the inside out. I personally love to do a body scan before bed, as it helps me release any tension from the day and settle into a calm and peaceful state of mind.

One time, I was feeling particularly anxious and couldn’t shake the feeling, no matter what I tried. So, I decided to try a body scan practice. As I moved my attention through my body, I noticed a tightness in my chest and a fluttering in my stomach. Instead of trying to ignore or suppress these sensations, I allowed myself to feel them fully, observing them with curiosity and compassion.

As I continued with the body scan, I noticed that the tightness in my chest began to release and the fluttering in my stomach began to calm. By the end of the practice, I felt a sense of relief and lightness that I hadn’t felt in a while.

Body scan meditation can be a powerful tool for emotional regulation because it helps us tune in to our body sensations and observe them without judgment. When we’re able to do this, we can learn to identify our emotional states and respond to them in a more skillful way. It’s like having a superpower – the ability to understand and regulate our emotions by simply paying attention to our bodies.

So, when you decide to try a body scan meditation when feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, find a comfortable spot, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Then, you can listen to my guided body scan meditation on this website or my YouTube channel to systematically move your attention through your body, noticing any sensations you feel. Remember to observe these sensations with non-judgmental awareness and allow yourself to simply be in the present moment. Who knew that simply tuning in to our bodies could have such a profound effect on our emotional well-being?


Using Body Scan Meditation for Emotional Regulation

Body scan meditation can be a powerful tool for emotional regulation. By becoming more aware of your body sensations, you can learn to recognize the physical signs of difficult emotions and use that information to regulate your emotional responses.

Here are a few tips for using body scan meditation for emotional regulation:

  1. Make body scan meditation a regular practice: Like any mindfulness practice, body scan meditation is most effective when done regularly. Try to set aside time each day to practice, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
  2. Practice non-judgmental awareness: When practicing body scan meditation, try to observe your body sensations without judgment. This can help you become more accepting of difficult emotions and less reactive to them.
  3. Use body scan meditation in the moment: If you notice difficult emotions arising during the day, take a few moments to do a mini-body scan. Focus your attention on your body sensations and use that information to regulate your emotional response.

Becoming more aware of our body sensations can be a powerful tool for emotional regulation. Body scan meditation is an effective way to improve body awareness and can be used to manage difficult emotions. By practicing body scan meditation regularly and using it in the moment, you can learn to recognize the physical signs of difficult emotions and use that information to regulate your


Scientific findings on the use of body scan meditation for improving emotional regulation

Here are some research studies related to body awareness and emotional regulation, as well as the use of body scan meditation to help manage difficult emotions:

Why Body Awareness is Key to Emotional Regulation: How Body Scan Meditation Can Help You Manage Difficult Emotions
  • A study published in the journal “Emotion” found that body awareness was positively associated with emotional clarity and cognitive reappraisal, which are two key factors in effective emotion regulation (Park, Lu, Deng, Hu, & Cheung, 2016).
  • In a study published in “Frontiers in Psychology,” researchers found that a short-term body scan intervention led to increased body awareness and decreased negative affect among participants with high anxiety levels (Nyklíček, Mommersteeg, Van Beugen, Ramakers, & Van Boxtel, 2013).
  • A randomized controlled trial published in “Mindfulness” found that a 6-week body scan intervention led to significant reductions in symptoms of anxiety and depression among participants with a history of trauma (Kearney et al., 2019).
  • Another study published in “Mindfulness” found that a body scan meditation intervention led to improvements in emotion regulation among individuals with chronic pain (Day, Thorn, & Ward, 2016).
  • A meta-analysis of 22 studies published in the “Journal of Psychosomatic Research” found that mindfulness-based interventions, including body scan meditation, led to significant reductions in symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as improvements in overall emotional well-being (Hofmann, Sawyer, Witt, & Oh, 2010).

These studies provide evidence that body awareness and body scan meditation can be effective tools for improving emotional regulation and overall emotional well-being.

Be Alive 🌱
Love ❤️, Julia

Khoury, B., Lecomte, T., Fortin, G., Masse, M., Therien, P., Bouchard, V., & Hofmann, S. G. (2013). Mindfulness-based therapy: A comprehensive meta-analysis. Clinical psychology review, 33(6), 763-771.
Moberg, C. A., & Niles, A. N. (2019). Mindfulness interventions for anxiety and depression. In Handbook of Mindfulness (pp. 719-734). Springer, Cham.
Potsou, C., & Malogiannis, I. A. (2018). The role of body awareness in emotion regulation: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Mindfulness, 9(5), 1445-1463.
Roemer, L., & Orsillo, S. M. (2013). Mindfulness-and acceptance-based behavioral therapies in practice. Guilford Press.
Roemer, L., Williston, S. K., & Rollins, L. G. (2015). Mindfulness and emotion regulation. Current Opinion in Psychology, 3, 52-57.

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Body Scan Meditation and Body Awareness

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