Body scanning is a meditative technique that lets the mind wander, searching the body, looking for areas that are holding tension. If you regularly scan your body, over time, it can reveal patterns in where, and how, you hold onto stress.
Knowing what we are feeling, sooner rather than later, also reduces the likelihood of responding in ways we later regret. We are able to remain calm, to pause and reflect on our choices, rather than having emotional outbursts. Understanding what stage, or wave, of an emotion we are experiencing is also valuable. If we are just beginning to feel an emotion, a few deep breaths may allow us to sit with it, without feeling overwhelmed. If we are in the later stages, and the waves of emotion are crashing in. We may need to take a walk, run, or cry.
Our body is typically reacting to stress long before we're consciously aware of it. As we become more adept at observing ourselves, we cultivate our ability to identify the early signs of stress. Regular meditation increases our awareness of both physical sensations, and the ways that our mind and body interact.