When I exercise, can I focus on running without distracting myself with entertaining media, thinking about what I'm going to do later, or rehashing a conversation I had in the past? Running is a physical activity, so I want to focus on my physical experience. As I drop into the body, I can notice what feels good, what feels off, what needs to change. When I'm tuned in this way, it's more obvious to me when I need to take a pause, to slow down, and to stretch, therefore reducing the chance that I'll overdo it and injure myself.
What about being fully absorbed in healing work?
If you have the intention of being fully present during a massage, you'll release tension with more ease, gain better self-awareness, and open the channels to health more quickly.
How can I be more present, you ask?
Focus on body sensations - your breath (the pace, the sound, the feeling of it flowing in and out), the contact of your body on the table (or feet on the floor, seat on the chair - simply your body's contact with a surface), the contact of the massage therapists hands, the specific details of sensation - warm/cool, tingly, numb, tight, open, hard/soft, color, emotion, depth in the body, etc.
If your mind continues to pull you away from your body, it may help to process those thoughts. Some believe it's most relaxing to be silent throughout a massage, but sometimes the path to deep relaxation and greater healing requires vocalizing.
In a session with me, you're welcome to talk about what's up for you. If it's a long verbal process that leads you to few quiet minutes of embodied, relaxed presence, it's more productive than being silent through a massage while your mind is spinning in circles. While the mind is spinning, the nervous system is likely dysregulated along with it. Though your muscles may loosen up with some massage, the effects will last so much longer if your mind and nervous system are on board for a full mind-body-spirit integration.
What's your experience of multi- vs. single-tasking? What activities hold your full attention with ease, and what has you distracted or want to multi-task?