Self Care - Self Observation Exercise #1

Freeze your current reading position.

You might be sitting, standing or lying down, or if you're body’s in-motion while reading this then try to revisit it once you get to where you're going. Whatever your current position is - hold it for a moment and think about each question below for a few seconds.


Notice your overall position.

Is this your common reading position?


Notice the position of your back.

Does this position feel familiar to you?

Is your back comfortable?

Does it feel tense?


Notice the position of your legs and feet.

Does this position feel familiar to you?

Are your legs crossed?

Are your feet in contact with the ground?

Are your legs and feet comfortable?

Are your feet falling asleep?


Notice the position of your shoulders and arms.

Is this a common position for them?

Are your shoulders comfortable?

Are you holding your shoulders up, down, forward or backward?


How are you holding the device your reading from?

Are you using your hands to hold it or using something else?

Are you holding it with both hands or just one?

If your hands aren't holding the book what are they doing?

Are your hands comfortable or stiff?


Notice the position of your head.

Are you holding it forward or backward?

Are you tilting it to the left or right?

Is this how you normally hold your head when reading?


Notice the sensations in your neck.

Does your neck feel comfortable?

Does it feel tense and contracted?


Finally notice how you are breathing.

Are you breathing deeply or shallowly?

Are you breathing primarily from your chest or from your abdomen?

Does your current reading position allow you to breathe freely?


Now that you've carefully thought through how each part of your body feels you can take some time to break that position and move around.

Take a few deep breaths and then when you're ready; keep reading.


Are you back into the same reading position by any chance? Experiment with changing the positions of any parts of your body that you might have realized weren't entirely comfortable or seemed to constrict your breathing.

Self-observation exercises are useful to begin the habit of noticing how your body is feeling as you go through each day. This one was centered on the specific activity of reading. Going through the same steps for other activities you engage in is going to provide you with some great awareness about yourself and possibly some surprising discoveries.

Try thinking about these questions while you’re driving, or see how your body ends up after watching television for a while.

Consider regular massage as part of your own self-care and as a way to become more familiar with your own body.


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Thank you for reading and feel free to post comments.

Aaron Cubbage; Licensed Massage Therapist