Hey everyone, Kelly Mahler, occupational therapist. I want to take some time to get super practical. We want to talk about specific interoception activities that can be used to enhance our own inner understanding, or used with our clients or our loved ones to help them to explore and understand their own body sensations. We hear from so many people that they’re starting to learn about interoception science. They’re starting to see interoception’s influence in our daily lives. And really where the barrier is for a lot of people is that they just don’t know what activities to use to enhance that interoceptive experience.
Interoception Activities: Getting Practical
Here is where we want to get practical! If you follow us on any of our social media platforms, we are going to be dropping one interoception activity per day for 30 days during the month of January 2024.
We’ll be inviting you to try these interoception activities with us. If you feel inspired to share your experience, or what sensations you notice, if that’s something that’s meaningful to you, we’d love to hear from you.
If you are following along throughout January (or even after the fact), hopefully by the end of the month our 30 interoception activity posts will provide you with plenty of activity ideas to try for yourself, your clients, or your loved ones.
The Interoception Curriculum: Bridging the Gap Between Science and Practical Application
For most areas of research, it can take years (or decades) for scientific findings to reach the mainstream population and be practically applied to daily life in useful ways. Most of my resources are all about bridging this gap from interoception science over into practical application. I don’t have years to wait…and neither do my clients!
One of our most popular resources, The Interoception Curriculum, provides a framework for people to use when getting started with interoception based work. It essentially provides a recipe to follow when seeking to support someone’s interoception journey.
While it is a step by step framework, it is designed to be highly flexible and highly adaptable. Once you get used to the Interoception Curriculum, we really encourage people to make it their own and adapt it to meet each person’s unique needs. We have had such great success using the Interoception Curriculum with a wide variety of ages, learning styles, etc.
Let’s Get Started: A Practical Interoception Activity
We thought it could be fun to get things kicked off with a practical activity in this blog and vlog, and then you can feel free to follow along on our social media accounts if you want even more activities. This kick-off activity is coming from our Interoception Exercise Card Deck where you get a whole stack of really fun interoception building activities (124 activity cards to be exact!).
While the Interoception Exercise Cards were designed to supplement the Interoception Curriculum by providing additional practice methods for noticing body sensations, they can be used as a stand alone activity as well. Step one of all of our interoception work is to provide safe connection and practice noticing body signals and these cards do just that.
The card that I randomly picked from the deck is using the traditional exercise called arm circles. Let’s take some time to notice how our arm muscles feel while we’re doing this exercise.
I’ll invite you to join me in trying this if it’s something that’s meaningful to you. Here is how to perform the activity, along with some thinking questions:
- Put your arms out to the sides
- Start rotating your arms forward.
- Here, we’re really trying to notice our arm muscles and what’s going on with our arm muscles. What are you noticing? Do you feel anything in your arm muscles? Which arm muscles do you notice the most right now? Is there one that you’re really feeling? I am really feeling my shoulder muscles. They’re starting to burn a bit.
- Try doing 10 more circles forward, and then try 10 backwards. Does changing direction change the way that your muscles feel? It does for me, but we all have different inner experiences! I’m starting to feel it a little bit more in the back of my arm, in my tricep, and I’m starting to feel when I’m rotating backwards, I feel that a little bit more. And I also start to feel my arms are starting to feel a little heavy.
- I’m going to go ahead and relax. You can relax with me if you would like to.
- Now what are you noticing now in your arm muscles? My arm muscles are starting to feel this general sense of loosening as I stop that exercise. What are you noticing?
So, this is just a way activity to help us start to connect to our body, to notice our body signals. We’re learning about our body while we are experiencing the sensation. That is what all of our interoception activities are about, is really learning about our sensations while we are experiencing them. All of the activities are set up to be used in periods of regulation and when we are feeling safe in our world and with the people we’re with, you can see that there’s not a shortage of activities that come in this box.
Want more Interoception Activities?: Follow Along with Us on Social Media
If you want to follow along this month and tune into the 30 Days of Interoception Activities, here are our social media platforms below. You can follow along on any or all of them, as we will be posting across all platforms!
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/407492119460898/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/kellymahler