Listening to Our Bodies……..They Know More than We Do!

As I prepared for and facilitated my course “Redefine Your Relationship With Food” I was keenly aware of my body’s messaging system as this is one of the key elements of the course. I am grateful for these opportunities to really tune in and remember how the body holds much of the information we need to function at our best AND how easily we can ignore its messages and plow ahead with what our minds tell us.
Perhaps it’s because we’re taught early on to give priority to external demands rather than internal messages that we tend to ignore our body’s communications.

Here’s some of the things that I notice myself doing.  I sometimes take another extra-strength Tylenol rather than investigating what’s causing my head to ache or I use more caffeine or sugar to give a little lift when I feel tired, rather than hearing my body’s message about needing rest.
A look at our pets may be the message we need about the value of naps!  Can you relate?

Some of the other “need” messages communicated to us by our bodies might also sound familiar:

  • the mouth that’s pinched and tight,
  • the shoulders up around our ears,
  • the knot of tension in our stomach.

These might show up as we promise to do something when closer consideration might tell us we are already over-extended. And it’s not uncommon in our fast-paced lives.

Many of us are notorious for putting deadlines ahead of the protests of aching bones or inadequately nourished bellies. Instead of asking our body what it wants, we go for the quick fill-up or the comfort food that may be the last thing we really need. Slowing down can help us tune in and interrupt automatic patterns.

Here are some ideas on how to tune in and give your body an equal say in how you use it.

Start with the breath. Breathing consciously is a major part of body awareness.

Allow yourself quiet time.
Sit for ten minutes just observing yourself, even (especially!) in the middle of a busy day.

Get a massage.
It’s not self-indulgence to be massaged; it wakes up the whole nervous system and helps you tune in.

Use your journal to dialogue with your body.
Ask your body how it’s feeling, what it wants, what’s going on. Give that sore wrist or stiff lower back a voice and let it tell you what its message is. 

Eat when hungry, sleep when tired.
Take a week and really pay attention to your body’s most basic needs. Do your real rhythms for eating and sleeping conform to the habits you’ve established? If they don’t, change them!

Do a body inventory to relax.
Start with your toes and work upwards. Scan your body from the inside. Or try tensing each part slightly, then relaxing it to release residual tension.

Practice mindfulness
. Get used to tuning in to your physical self, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. Notice “what is” right now, in this moment.
And if your body suggests rolling down a grassy hillside, flopping backwards in the deep snow and making a snow-angel, taking flight on a playground swing, or skipping down a winding path, why resist? Its impulses like these that help us to remember our vitality and contribute to overall well-being!

How well do you listen to your body? I’d love to hear from you.

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