There is an exercise for releasing the tension in the body as a whole and releasing the tension in each part. We can begin by paying attention to the whole body and then different parts of the body. Begin with the head, or the hair on the head, and finish with the toes.
Breathing in, I am aware of my brain.
Breathing out, I smile to my brain.
Use the conscious mind to recognize that a certain part of the body is there. In this way, we can recognize and embrace it with the energy of mindfulness, and allow that part of the body to relax and release the tension. Then you come down to the eyes.
Breathing in, I'm aware of my eyes.
Breathing out, I smile to my eyes.
Allow your eyes to release the tension that is in and around the eyes. A light smile can help you to relax. You can go on to send that smile to different parts of your body.
In your face there are dozens of muscles, and when you get angry or fearful there's a lot of tension in all these muscles. If you breathe in and are aware of them, and breathe out and smile to them, you can help them to release the tension. Your face can be completely relaxed after just one in-breath and out-breath. Your smile can bring about a miracle.
Breathing in, I smile.
Breathing out, I allow all the muscles in my face to relax.
Then you come to your shoulders, and then your heart. Then to your left arm, and your right arm, always recognizing them with the energy of mindfulness and smiling to them and helping them to release the tension. It's like scanning the body — not with an x-ray, but with the ray of your mindfulness. You take the time, perhaps ten or fifteen minutes, to scan your body with the energy of mindfulness. Smiling to every part of your body, you help that part of the body to relax and release tension.
When we come to a part of the body that is ailing, we can stay there longer. We should spend more time recognizing and embracing that part of our body with the energy of mindfulness. Embrace it, smile to it, and help it to release the tension. Practicing this exercise will help you heal. If you have to use some drugs for a physical ailment, please don't rely on them alone. When you know how to help release the tension in that part of the body, the healing happens much more quickly. When there's a physical pain, your mindfulness will tell you that it's only a physical pain, and with that kind of awareness you won't exaggerate anything or worsen the pain because of fear and tension.— Thich Nhat Hanh in Peace of Mind