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The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Workbook for Personality Disorders by Jeffrey C. Wood

The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Workbook for Personality Disorders by Jeffrey C. Wood

Author:Jeffrey C. Wood [Jeffrey C. Wood, PsyD]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781608826032
Publisher: New Harbinger Publications


The Body Scan Exercise

Typically, relaxation exercises begin with building body awareness. This exercise will help you learn how to scan your body for signs of muscle tension so that you can learn to release that tension and to relax. This exercise should take only about ten or fifteen minutes. Practice the body scan exercise at least once a day for one week before trying the next exercise, which is called progressive muscle relaxation.

Read the instructions before beginning the exercise in order to become familiar with the process. Then you can refer to them again or you can record the instructions and listen to them while observing the sensations in your body.

Don’t be surprised if your focus begins to wander while you’re doing this exercise. When you recognize that your attention is drifting, gently return your focus to the exercise, and do your best not to criticize or judge yourself.

Exercise: The Body Scan

To begin, find a comfortable place to sit in a room where you won’t be disturbed for at least ten minutes. Turn off any distracting sounds. Take a few slow, long breaths, and then close your eyes. When you begin the exercise, observe any sensations you notice in your body, especially muscle tension. For now, don’t try to release the tension. Just do your best to notice it, continue to breathe, and try to stay focused on the activity. Make sure to spend enough time on each section of your body to notice all of the sensations there, before you move on to the next area of your body.

First, focus on your feet. Notice any sensations in your toes, the soles of your feet, your ankles, and the tops of your feet. You might notice tingling or tension. For now, just notice it and continue to breathe. (Pause here.)

Now notice your lower legs, including your calf muscles, shins, and knees. Observe any sensations there and continue to breathe. (Pause here.)

Next focus on your upper legs and your hamstrings, thigh muscles, buttocks, and genital area. Notice the weight of your body supported by the chair you’re sitting in. Notice any other sensations and continue to breathe. (Pause here.)

Then notice the front of your torso, including your stomach and chest area. Observe any sensations and continue to breathe. (Pause here.)

Now notice your lower and upper back. Pay attention to any muscular sensations or tension as you scan this area. Notice any other sensations and continue to breathe. (Pause here.)

Next focus on your shoulders, upper arms, and elbows. Observe any sensations there and continue to breathe. (Pause here.)

Then notice any sensations in your forearms, hands, and fingers. Slowly scan both the tops and bottoms of your hands. Observe any sensations there and continue to breathe. (Pause here.)

Now focus on the front and back of your neck. Observe any sensations there and continue to breathe. (Pause here.)

Next notice any sensations in your face, especially around your jaw, mouth, nose, eyes, and forehead. Notice any signs of tension there, including a tight jaw and forehead.



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