Have you ever been told to ‘trust your instinct’ and ‘listen to your gut feeling’? Many people believe we all have an inner wisdom for what’s right for us and our bodies. So how do we learn to trust what our bodies are telling us?
Modern society is dominated by scientific advances and masses of information. It’s great that we’re learning more about physiology, but the downside is the temptation is to pay too much attention to mind chatter and stop listening to the inner wisdom of our bodies.
Part of the problem may also be our fixation for avoiding harmless negative body sensations. For example, the media regularly tells us we need to get rid of headaches and stomach-aches by taking a tablet. Of course medication isn’t bad, but hastily popping pills can reduce our ability to listen to our bodies.
Why should I listen to my body? Our bodies know everything. They feel and experience everything completely and perfectly and guide us towards what is best for us. But if our minds have a different idea of what ‘perfect’ is then we stop connecting with our bodies. And if we let our minds completely take charge then we can start heading towards problems.
The dangers of over-thinking. The continual mental weighing up of what’s good and bad for us can lead to anxiety, confusion, and damaging health choices. Repeating to yourself that you are fat, a certain food is bad, you are unattractive, too skinny, not fit enough etc can lead to food anxieties, low self-esteem, compulsive exercising, and even mental illness like anorexia.
Why do we think so much? Because we want to be in control. Driving this is often a need to be perfect. Our busy, noisy lives means our listening tends to be directed outward (to all the new information) instead of inward to own body.
Can I always trust my body? Unfortunately, you can’t always trust what your body tells you it needs. Sometimes your body craves something it believes it needs and sends out the signals for it. For example, a strong coffee in the morning to wake yourself up. Is it your mind or body speaking here? You need to listen very closely to your body so you don’t get run by your mind.
How can I increase body awareness?
Learning to trust your body more is like creating a new habit. It can take a while to switch from ‘brain listening’ to ‘body listening’. Give it the recommended 66 days and review your results then. And let us know how you do.
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