Listening to your body. It's one of the cues or suggestions I often include in my yoga classes. It's important to understand your limits to prevent injury and to challenge yourself when you've got a little more to give, not mention rest when you're tired, eat when you're hungry, and so much more. It's also one of those things it's really easy to say, but not always easy to do.
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We have spent a lot of time learning how NOT to listen to our bodies. Maybe you heard messages about ignoring or pushing down your emotions (suck it up, hide your crazy, boys don't cry). Perhaps you were part of a "clean your plate" family. Maybe you've dealt with traumatic experiences (war, abuse) that you couldn't deal with and simply shut down. Perhaps you've been dealing with stress for so long you've forgotten that feeling tired, having chronic pain, or poor digestion aren't the norm.
There are so many ways in which our bodies try to speak to us in order to help us maintain some kind of balance and level of health. Here are 7 ways you can start to learn how to listen to the story YOUR body wants to tell.
Cut the cord between the clock and your fridge.
It's really easy to override your body's natural hunger response if you eat by the clock. Instead of feeling hungry, we are often obliged to take a break at a certain time, eat in our cars en route to some commitment, or make a meal work around our schedule. If the clock says it's time to eat, but you're not feeling hungry, try waiting or having a drink of water first. It's normal to feel hungry 3-5 hours after a meal. Pay attention to what your body's hungry signals are: rumbling, a feeling of emptiness in the stomach, a lowering of energy perhaps. Let yourself really feel those before sitting down to a meal.
Find power in the pause.
If work life, parent life, or school life has you running around all day, you probably aren't paying much attention to your body at all. There is a lot of power in a pause. Slowing down allows the body to send accurate messages to the brain, and vice versa. It also helps us develop a greater sense of awareness about ourselves. One way to do this is to intentionally pause 1/2 way through whatever you're doing: exercise, yoga, a meal, a project. Set a timer if you need to. Then simply pause for at 2-5 minutes to check in with yourself. How are you feeling physically? Are you pushing to hard or need a rest? Are you already mostly full? How are you feeling emotionally? Can you name the emotions you feel? What do they feel like in your body? Take the time to pause and build your listening skills.
Get audibly meta.
Metacognition is a fancy term for "thinking about thinking", "knowing about knowing", becoming "aware of one's awareness". This is often used in schools to help students with reading comprehension, but it's also a fantastic practice to start doing for yourself, about yourself. Making our thinking audible ie: thinking-aloud, helps us to consciously monitor and reflect upon what we are experiencing, feeling, or doing. As you build your body listening skills and verbalize what you're feeling as you feel it, you increase your awareness of what your body is telling you. You make it more concrete and tangible. You make it easier and easier to recognize the next time around. If you do this in front of your kids, you also start to help them become more meta, more aware of themselves, their emotions, their bodies, and thoughts. As you help them understand themselves better, they help you understand them better too. Win-win in my book!
image courtesy of http://morgantonhumanists.org/shhhh/. No copyright infringement intended.
I'm Tonia, a Midwesterner transplanted to Colorado. I'm a mom of two lovely littles, a yoga instructor, DIY-er, teacher, stay at home mom, and a doTERRA Wellness Advocate. I blog about a little bit of all of these and everything in between!
Are you looking for natural health options, but don't know where to start? Book a 1-on-1 appointment with me! We'll spend about 30 minutes getting to know your health goals and concerns, learn a bit about doTERRA, and go over the most commonly used oils that meet your needs. You don't have to buy anything, but if you see something you like, of course I can help you!