Remember back to a time when you first met someone who is now an important person in your life; perhaps your significant other, or a good friend. Can you recall what your body felt in those first moments? Perhaps an expanded, open feeling in your chest, quickening heart rate, warmth? Now recall a time when you had to make a big decision about something. Perhaps it was where to live, a decision about your career or a major purchase. Imagine those first moments when you experienced that place, that job, etc., before you made the decision. What sensations were happening in your body at the time? Were the sensations expanded and light, or contracted and heavy? Or a combination of both? In a situation that turned out to be challenging for you, do you recall any warning signals that your body gave you at the time? Perhaps a contracted feeling in your stomach, a tightness in your throat, a prickly feeling in the back of your neck. Did you try to override those bodily sensations with your mind? Brushing them off or pushing them down, or making excuses?
What if those bodily sensations were there to offer us valuable information about the world around us; people who are safe or unsafe, situations that are harmonious or discordant? What if we listened first to those bodily feelings and trusted them to guide us in making decisions in our life? The body can guide us not only in the big decisions, but in the small everyday decisions as well. The next time you are hungry and you are asking yourself what you should eat, ask your body what would feel good to it. Imagine eating that food and see how your body responds. The body tells us when it needs to rest, exercise, when it needs to be alone, or to reach out to a friend. The body tells us when something is off balance, perhaps when there is a symptom that should be attended to. How often do you try to override your body's messages about what to eat or when to rest, or if something might need physical attention? While our mind might try to convince us otherwise, our body always tells the truth. Any time the body is sending a signal, it is important information, and worthy of paying attention to.
When we don't listen and attend to our emotions and sensations, they can become more and more persistent, and manifest as stronger symptoms, or even a chronic illness. Listening to the body, offering the body what is asking for; whether that is food, rest, touch, or love, is powerful preventative medicine. Listening to the body can help us track the more subtle symptoms of imbalance in the body, so that we can attend to them before they become full-blown illnesses or chronic conditions.
As a body psychotherapist, I guide clients to develop that relationship to their bodies. I know that the body always holds information that is useful in connecting to emotions, our stories, our beliefs about ourselves and the world. We are not taught in school to develop that relationship; society often tells us to push down our feelings and move on. Not developing a loving relationship with the body can lead to eating disorders, self-harming, addictions, unhealthy relationships, or chronic illness.
If you are seeking further support in listening to the messages that your body might be telling you, please contact me for a 30 minute free consultation. I would be happy to support you!