Four Simple Tips for Listening to Your Body
One of my favorite things to help my clients with is learning to listen to their bodies. I always say that I know a lot about health, but you know your body the best. When you really tune in, you will notice that it’s always talking to you. The simple act of tuning in each day can give you a profound insight into your health. You’ve heard about meditation and the importance of mindfulness. Hint…. It isn’t hard to listen to your body! You can do it in just moments a day. I’ve made it easy with these four simple tips!
1. Focus on Your Breath
We’ve all had moments where our stress level is elevated and we feel out of control. That adrenaline rush your body is feeling is fight-or-flight mode. This survival technique kept our ancestors alive in times of great distress. Unfortunately, our bodies cannot distinguish between an impending deadline and a charging lion. You can regain control, however, by focusing on your breath. This is one of my favorite methods of tuning into my body, because it requires very little time and it can be done anywhere. Instead of focusing on what’s going on around you, take a deep breath and visualize the air entering your body. See the oxygen filling and nourishing your lungs. Exhale deeply and imagine all the stress leaving your body. Repeat ten times, and continue as needed.
2. Check In First Thing
Prepare yourself for the day ahead without even leaving your bed! As soon as you wake up, take a moment to close your eyes and see how you feel. Start with your toes, and slowly make your way up to the crown of your head. Do you feel stiff or sore anywhere? Are you nervous about the day ahead, and holding tension in your muscles? Send loving energy anywhere you find discomfort. Just observe how you feel, don’t judge it or try to fix it right now.
3. Make Mealtime A Priority
How often do you rush through your meals, hardly tasting your food? Stress and constant activity can cause us to shift into fight-or-flight mode (see tip #1). This adrenaline rush can help us fly through the tasks, but it takes a toll, especially when sustained for long periods of time. Instead, allow yourself time to relax and enjoy your food. Chew each bite thoroughly and pay attention to the tastes and textures, and visualize each bite nourishing your body. Note how your body feels as you eat, and if anything causes discomfort.
4. Cut Down The Chatter
It is difficult to listen to our bodies when we’re constantly bombarded by outside information. The needs of our families, social media, the news…all are constantly sending messages. Instead of glancing at your phone, computer, or television screen, check in with yourself. What is it that your body needs? Do you need to relax? Try going for a walk, taking a bath, or reading a book. Are you craving interaction? Ask your children about their day, or call a friend you’ve lost touch with. Are you tired? Hungry? In pain? Take stock, and then make sure your needs are being met. Pausing for a moment can help you determine what you’re really seeking, instead of constantly scrolling through information.