Have you ever heard someone talk about the ‘mind body connection’ and thought to yourself – “that sounds nice, but what the heck does it actually mean?” Or perhaps you thought that it is a nice idea for those hippy dippy people, but not for you. Maybe you feel like you have started to bridge the gap between your mind and your body, but still struggle to totally surrender to trusting the wisdom that is innate within your being?
Whatever the case, I want to help you demystify the idea of connecting in with your body. You are the ultimate expert on you, and only you know how to get your body to a place of balance and health. The trick is to learn to speak the same language as your body, so that when it sends you messages, you can adjust your course accordingly.
Here are 5 simple tools you can use to help you establish a powerful connection with your body, so that you can continue your journey towards your highest level of health and wellness.
1. Tune Into Your Gut:
Your gut is full of nerve endings, and these nerve endings carry within them important information. By simply slowing down periodically throughout your day and tuning into the state of your gut, you will start to notice patterns. You may notice that every time you are around a certain person, you feel tension and strain in your abdomen.
You may notice that you feel little butterflies of excitement every time you consider a particular action, or that you feel a sense of calm peace when you consider eating a specific food. Do not be one of those people who only notice their belly when it hurts. Tune in and start to become aware of the patterns of sensation. Then you can start to use this information to help you make choices, by considering a certain option – like what to have for lunch, or whether or not to apply for that job – and seeing how your gut feels. Your mind can tell you lots of stories, but your gut will never lie.
2. Tune Into Your Breathing:
Like the sensations in your gut, your breathing patterns can tell you a lot about what is going on for you under the surface. When you take time to focus on your breathing, you will not only be gathering valuable information about what situations make you feel stressed, and thus cause your breath to become more rapid or haggard – you will also start to hone your skills when it comes to communicating back to your body that you are safe.
You see, your breathing works as a feedback loop – when you are stressed out, your breath becomes short and rapid, and because of this breathing more and more stress hormones will be produced in your body, maintaining and increasing a state of stress and fear within you. This state is not only damaging for your health, it also blocks your ability to hear the messages your body is trying to tell you about healing and health, because it is too busy being in fight or flight mode.
When you notice your breath is in stress mode, you can interrupt the loop by consciously breathing slower and deeper. This sends the message to your body that you are safe, and will help to reduce the stress hormone production in your body. This sets you up to be more receptive to the other messages your body is sending you, and helps your body live in healing mode more often.
3. Play The “Tighter” Or “Looser” Game:
For this tip, begin by thinking about the absolute worst day you can remember having. A day where everything went wrong, where people were behaving terribly, where you behaved in a way you were not proud of or a combination of all those things.
Really put yourself back in this day in your mind. Feel the emotions, remember what you were thinking, who was around you, what you sensed with your eyes, ears, nose, and touch. Now notice how your body feels. Notice the tension, the contraction, the uneasy feeling.
Ok. That is enough of that. Take a deep breath and shake that off.
From here, think of the best day you can remember having. One in which things kept going your way, where events flowed seamlessly, where others were kind and you felt proud of your reactions to life. Remember this day as clearly as you can. Remember who you saw, what you saw, what you heard, what you smelled, what you could feel. Now again, tune into your body. Notice how this memory caused your body to relax, or feel a sense of excitement or joy.
With this, you now know how your body reacts and responds to choices that are in alignment with your best life, and how your body responds to choices that are out of alignment with your best life. Using this information, you can imaging yourself making any choice that you need to make – whether to eat the muffin or the smoothie for breakfast, if you should ask that girl out, if you should buy the apartment – and you can consider the option while tuning into your body.
If it feels more like the first scenario, then you know your body is saying steer clear. If your body feels more like it did with the second scenario, you can bet that the option you are considering is going to benefit you. The more you practice this one, the better your sense of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ will become.
4. Eat With Awareness:
Mealtime is one of the greatest opportunities you have to tune into your bodies’ unique and powerful wisdom. This is because meal times happen consistently throughout every day so it provides a constant reminder to tune in, and because so much information can be gathered through your actions and physical reactions with regards to what you eat.
I suggest that at each mealtime pause before you begin eating to notice how you are feeling mentally, emotionally and physically. Then consider how you are expecting your meal to make you feel mentally, emotionally and physically. Then eat. After you meal, again ask yourself how you are feeling mentally, emotionally and physically. Notice if the food you ate had the effect that you were hoping it would have, or if something else arose.
This tuning in is all it takes for you to begin to make positive changes to your diet, without needing the advice of anyone outside of you. All you have to do is tune into how you feel, notice how you want to feel, and then start to consume the foods you know will make you feel that way, steering clear of the foods you know don’t. Your body will let you know when you are eating in alignment with your health or not – no biochem degree required.
5. Pause Before You Sleep:
Lastly, make a ritual out of tuning into your body before you sleep at night. Notice any tension, any strain, any areas of stress. Scan your body from your toes all the way to your head, noticing all the sensations that are present. Then send a mental note to your body that you wish to understand WHY it feels what it feels – why the tension or pain or strain or lack of sensation is there. Then take ten slow, smooth deep breaths. Do not resist any discomfort, but allow it to be, softening yourself.
This practice will open you up to receiving clear messages from your body about your pain, which will help you understand what you need to do to better serve your body, so that it can feel healthier and happier. It may take time to start to ‘hear’ the messages your body is sending you, but keep at it and eventually you will get there.
So what do you think? Is tuning into your body something you want to try? Do any of these techniques pique your interest? If you do give any of them a try, let me know how it goes for you in the comments below!
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