The Body/Mind Connection: 4 Tips to Listen to Your Body
Discover the amazing intelligence your body possesses - and how to re-connect to it to maximise your health and happiness. Our bodies are amazing. Its a fact. At any one point in time, billions of individual cells are working in harmony to keep you healthy, happy and vibrant.
As Deepak Chopra says, "A human body can think thoughts, play a piano, secrete hormones, regulate skin temperature, kill germs, remove toxins, and make a baby all at the same time."
The problem is, most of us are completely unaware of our own bodies.Instead, we have learnt to treat them as something seperate to ourselves, to give them a story, to objectify them. We think of a specific feeling we wish for, then use (or abuse) our bodies to achieve it.
In his book Touching Enlightenment, Reggie Ray defines this in one word: disembodiement. By seperating the mind and the body as we usually do, we have lost touch with its intelligence, energy and power.
We have forgotten its innate ability to provide us with moment-to-moment information and feedback on our emotions and feelings.
What our bodies can tell us
Every single emotional experience has a physical component to it; when you are hungry, your mind experiences hunger but so does your stomach. When you are in the presence of the person you love, every single cell of your being radiates joy and happiness.
And when you experience fear, you feel it in your stomach, your chest or your head.
Our bodies are wonderfully intelligent and are connected to our desires and needs at a much deeper level than we think. They have their very own way of guiding us in our search for health and happiness. Here's how to listen:
1. Practice presence and awareness
The first step on the path to reconnecting to your body is to become aware of it. For so many of us life happens like a script; a movie, a fantasy within our own heads. We loose the connection to our physical sensations and feelings - unless we suddenly get sick or ill.
When we are trapped in our thoughts - generally about the past or possible future - we are unable to feel or sense.
You see, sensation, feeling and thought are like a DJ mixing table, when you increase one, the others decrease automatically.
So if you spend most of your time in thought, your ability to sense or feel diminishes.
See what I mean? Try it now for a moment. Use your 5 senses to bring yourself into your body and into the present moment. Notice how your thoughts evaporate into the background?
2. Look for sensations of comfort or discomfort
Have you ever noticed that floating sensation in your body when you are filled with joy and happiness? How you are more mobile and agile when your life takes a turn for the better?
And how when a painful situation or stress arises, our bodies suddenly seem tighter, weaker and drained of their energy?
Our bodies are a mirror of our state of mind and of our happiness. When your mind and spirit are in harmony, i.e. when your thoughts, feelings and actions are aligned, your body will feel harmonious and fluid.
Fear, unhappines and stress however will bring tightness, discomfort, even pain and illness
As you become more present and aware of your body, you will learn to notice these tell-tale signs.
Whenever you feel tightness, contraction or discomfort, ask yourself what is causing it - where in your life are you not being authentic, nurturing and loving to yourself, your wants and your desires.
As you start to make better choices for yourself, your body will start to feel lighter, more comfortable, and with more vitality.
3. Ask your body for guidance
Your body is a physical extension of your mind. As such, it is deeply connected to your true desires and needs.
When you are faced with a decision, bring your awareness to the sensations in your body. You can even ask your body and your heart, "Is this choice right for me?".
You will immediately get feedback in the form of feelings, either a signal of distress and alert or comfort and eagerness.
In the same way, you can gain a new understanding or your body's physical needs. Simply ask: "What do you need right now?" "What do I need to do to feel better and have more energy?"
You may need more sleep, more water, good food or even some peace and quiet. Whatever it may be, your body will tell you and you will know. Trust that inner wisdom.
4. Listen to it after meals
Many of us are so disconnected to our bodies that we do not hear its cries for help.
If you attend to your body's physical needs and eat foods that support it, the response will be immediate: satisfied, energetic, happy.
However, unhealthy or unsupportive foods will trigger all sorts of uncomfortable sensations: bloatedness, tiredness, even hunger or stomach aches. Sound familiar?
Listen to the signs your body gives you, both immediately after a meal and up to 2 hours later. Try different combinations of foods and different ratios of protein, fat and carbohydrate to learn how your body responds.
The fitter and more in tune to your body's needs you are, the quicker you will receive the information. I slept through the first half of The Artist because of a bowl of nachos I had when the film started!
ACTION STEP: Take time right now to connect to your body. Take a few deep breaths to ground yourself and recognise areas in which you are tight or are experiencing discomfort. Take a silent note of them, without judgement or trying to release them. Feel your breathing, and fully experience the sensations of your whole body. Practice this for 5-10 minutes before leaving a comment below about your experience.
Love & Health,