Learning Embodiment – Exercises And Guide For Everyday Life
Embodiment describes the interaction and relationship between our emotions and our body. The writer Christian Morgenstern appropriately said, “The body is the translator of the soul into the visible.”
In turn, our emotional state also directly affects our bodies.
You may have come across the term embodiment in the context of mindfulness. While mindfulness is about conscious awareness of our actions, thoughts, and feelings, embodiment focuses on the physical aspect, which is also related to the previously mentioned elements. Embodiment reminds us that our body and mind are not separate, but closely related.
Understanding this relationship is not always easy, especially in the western world where we are used to ignoring our body’s needs in the name of productivity, or alternatively suppressing, controlling, or manipulating them.
Embodiment In A Sentence: What is Embodiment? (Definition)
Embodiment describes the interaction and relationship between mind, emotion, and body. It is based on the assumption that everything we experience and do also has an effect on our bodies.
This becomes clear if we take a look at our facial expressions, gestures, and posture. If we take psychoneuroimmunology into account, emotional conflicts such as fears, anger, and stress can even affect us so much that they lead to physical symptoms and diseases. Our emotions, feelings, thoughts, and experiences directly influence our body and its condition.
Learning Embodiment In Our Daily Life
The connection between emotions and the body can easily be observed in everyday life. Even a simple smile can lead to a change in our mood and motivation.
In the facial feedback hypothesis also known as the pencil experiment, participants were asked to watch a cartoon with a pencil in their mouth. The pencil automatically made them smile. The result was that participants found the cartoons significantly funnier than those without pencils. Their mood improved just from this little physical stimulus.
You can easily make this experiment at home. Try smiling consciously several times a day. Smile for at least 15 seconds and observe what happens. Many people report an immediate positive effect on their mood.
The Relationship Between Our Posture And The Way We See Ourselves
An upright posture is a sign of self-confidence and high self-esteem, while a hunched posture tends to indicate insecurity and closedness. Try to consciously pay attention to your posture in everyday situations. How are you sitting at work? How do you stand when talking to other people? Consciously correct your posture and observe what effect this has on you. Stand confidently and upright instead of slouched and with shoulders forward.
Learning Embodiment: Conscious Training With 4 Simple Exercises
1 – Upright Posture
A straight back and a stretched neck automatically increase awareness, mindfulness, and alertness. You will notice that it is much easier to work motivated and concentrated in this posture.
2 – Open Body Language
Open body language shows openness to new ideas and experiences. It radiates positivity, while folded arms and a downward gaze tend to signal rejection and closed-mindedness.
3 – Mindfulness And Introspection In Everyday Life
Try to observe yourself mindfully in different situations throughout the day. Pay attention to your facial and body expression at that moment and question how you are feeling. What posture do you have when you are happy, what posture do you have when you are sad, and when you are stressed?
This helps you to get a feeling for yourself and to explore the relationship between physical expression, posture, and your emotional state.
The exercises and tools from the “Self-Reflection and Introspection” Toolkit will enhance this process.
4 – Analyzing Others
In addition to yourself, you can also observe the gestures, facial expressions, and postures of others. Study and interpret the posture of others, notice how you perceive them and how this perception affects you. What is their body language? You can learn from these observations and use the insights for your own embodiment understanding.
Increase Your Understanding Of Embodiment Through Emotion Regulation – Mastering Feelings And Emotions
As we just learned, the dominant emotions and feelings we have in our everyday life affect our body and therefore our health. Looking at our body and posture often allows us to draw conclusions about our emotional state.
Frequent laughter usually results in a relaxed and friendly facial expression, while being tensed leads to neck pain and headache, shyness and shame to a stooped posture, and bitten fingernails suggest nervousness and insecurity.
Through the knowledge of embodiment, we now have two levels available to learn more about ourselves and our emotional world, and even to consciously influence it.
It is especially important not to suppress or numb any emotion, but to allow and accept them, to grasp the message behind them, and incorporate this knowledge into our future behavior (reducing or changing certain habits or behaviors).
Try questioning your own feelings and emotions. Why do I have these feelings? Are they genuine or rather a means to an end, such as exaggerated laughter to cover up my insecurities or discomfort?
Thanks to a better understanding of the interplay between our emotions and our body, we have created the foundation for consciously influencing our emotional state. This is especially helpful when we realize that our emotions are overpowering or overwhelming us.
The following tools and exercises will help you on the way to mastering your own emotions. They will help you to surf on the wave of emotions instead of being overrun by it.