Mind Your Mind: A whole body scan to practice gratitude

The other day, I decided to take a bath and took the opportunity to practice gratitude. This is an exercise I like to do whenever I get stuck thinking that the whole world is against me, and that life isn’t fair. A whole-body scan to practice gratitude is one way of being thankful for simply being a human being. The exercise is simple, with either your eyes open or close. As you scan your body in your mind from head to toe, you pause and say thank you for the different parts of your body. For me, this meditative exercise went like this.

First, I grounded myself in the present moment. I became mindfulness of the hot water under my skin, and said thank you because taking a shower with warm water is a privileged that not everyone gets to have — let’s be real, taking cold showers when all you want is warmth is frustrating. I ran my fingers through my hair, splashed water on my face and held the scented soap bar in my hands, feeling the softness and roundness of the soap bar. As I washed and rinsed each body part, I took a few seconds to say thank you.

“Thank you, feet, for allowing me to run barefoot on the beach and thank you, toes, for being able to wiggle in the sand.”

“Thank you, legs, for allowing me to walk, run, climb and travel wherever I want to go.”

“Thank you, hips, for loosening up when shaking and allowing me to dance all night long.”

“Thank you, belly, for digesting the food I eat and even though you hurt when I laugh too hard.”

“Thank you, hands, for the ability to write.”

“Thank you, neck, because you give me the opportunity to wear beautiful necklaces, which allows me to feel good about myself.”

“Thank you, eyes, for helping me see all the wonderful things surrounding me like sunsets, snow, the blue sky and so much more.”

“Thank you, mouth, for allowing me to communicate with my loved ones.”

“Thank you, ears, because without you I would never hear the birds chirping or the songs on the radio.”

“Thank you, brain and mind, for your creativity, intelligence, ability to think and feel.”

“Thank you, heart, for keeping me alive, day after day.”

There are so many things to be grateful for in the world, and it is easy to take our bodies for granted. But as they say, the human body is a miracle. Let’s take a moment to appreciate that.

The authors of this column are not mental health professionals. If you need additional support, please contact Student Health Services, Sexual Assault Support Centre and/or the Wellness Centre. In case of an emergency, call 911.