Listening to our body is one of the keys to living a healthy, happy life. Unfortunately many of us haven’t been taught how to listen. When we feel pain we are taught to run to the medicine cabinet for a pain reliever instead of taking time to listen to what the pain is trying to tell us.
When we are hungry, instead of tuning into our body to find out what to eat, we live with a set of rules based on the latest trend in the media. We have not been shown the value of listening to our body to find out which foods support our own unique biochemistry.
The truth is, no one lives in your skin and understands what you need to be healthy the way you can. Your body is sending you messages all the time. Every cell in your body is on your side, which means you have billions allies.
The most beautiful thing about your body is it has a deep knowing about what you truly need for health and happiness.
Consider the idea that you are having a relationship with your body. It is a very intimate relationship. Your body is going to be with you longer than anyone else on the planet. Let’s see if we can make it a good relationship.
We all realize it is important to listen to our friends and family. Listening is a key component with your body also. Feeling heard encourages better communication. If you had a friend with a problem and you told her you didn’t want to hear it, how would she feel? She would either get angry forcing you to listen or she would stop talking to you. It’s the same with your body. If you don’t listen to it, the messages either get louder creating discomfort or pain so you have to listen, or you get shut off from the messages and you don’t know what your body wants or needs.
There are 2 main problems I hear when I ask my clients to listen to their body. These are the same issues I experience myself.
The first one I hear is “I am afraid my body will tell me to do something I don’t what to do,” make me eat something I don’t want or tell me I can’t eat something I like? This is a problem right? Why would I listen if it is going to be a tyrant? No wonder we tune out.
The second obstacle I encounter is feeling disconnected. My clients say “I have no idea what my body wants” or “I can’t hear anything”. Since we are not used to listening the communication shuts down.
If we don’t like our body, feel let down by it or embarrassed about it, we naturally tend to detach from it. When that happens we tune out how our body feels. We wind up ignoring or suppressing its natural aliveness, juiciness, sexuality, and intensity.
When you begin to listen to your body you are able to give yourself the food, kindness and understanding that only you know you need. You and your body are on a beautiful journey of discovery, allow it to unfold gently. Aren’t you curious to hear what your body has to say?
The first step is to honor your body’s messages; don’t discount them. Simple, prompt action is sometimes all it takes. If you’re tired, rest. If you’re hungry, eat something. If you’re thirsty, have a drink. If you need to pee, go immediately. If you’re stressed stop what you are doing, take some deep breaths or go outside into the sun for a few minutes.
But what if my body says I should eat kale and I want to eat chocolate?
How many times have you known you should make a change but didn’t and trouble developed? Here is a new way to look at the guidance we are receiving.
A New Way To Listen To Your Body
As I said, we are in a relationship with our body. Our body loves us unconditionally and always wants the best for us. It is not a dictator, it is not a tyrant. We get to choose what we do. If our body is telling us something and we know it is true, but don’t want to do it, there is a new way to be with it. We get to negotiate. We are after all in a relationship together. In a good relationship each person has a voice.
Instead of ignoring the guidance, we acknowledge the message and also honor our desires. Our needs are valid. Then we can come up with a new solution, one that is easier for us, a way that makes change gentle rather than forced.
Making small changes in how you think and what you eat will have a powerful impact on your health
Here is an example from my life:
A few years ago my body was telling me to stop drinking coffee, but I didn’t want to. We were in a battle. Stop drinking coffee vs I want to drink coffee. I ignored the guidance and in the end wound up with a condition called interstitial cystitis which was so uncomfortable I was ultimately forced to stop drinking coffee for years.
Instead of being in battle with my body I realize there is a better way. First honor I didn’t want to give up coffee. This is a valid response. Honoring how I truly felt. Next honoring the wisdom of my body, coffee was not supporting my health. How about a new way? My body and I each get a little bit of what we want. What about drinking coffee only 2 days a week? This compromise could have saved me a lot of suffering.
If you make a commitment to listen to your body, over time you will learn to trust the signals. Peaceful understanding will develop between you and your body. You will listen with compassion and understanding to the messages while honoring your desires too. New solutions will emerge.
I use this information daily. I want to hear the guidance of my body and if it tells me to do something I don’t want to do, I sit with myself and have a dialog where both parts are listened to. When I do this I often come up with a new solution that is easy, gentle and still moves me in the direction of the changes I need and want to make.
Tips For Listening To Your Body
- Be Open To Listening To Your Body – Set the intention to be willing and open to listening. Don’t be afraid of what your body will say. You have a voice too. At first it may be a little fuzzy but as you listen it will get clearer. Be willing to find mutually beneficial solutions.
- Feel What You Feel – Don’t talk yourself into denial
- Accept What You Feel – Don’t judge what is actually there
- Trust your body – Every cell is on your side which means you have billions of allies.
- Enjoy What Your Body Wants To Do – Check in with your body a few times a day. Ask, “What would you like right now?” and then go ahead and do it.
A Technique for Cravings*
The next time you reach for a “bad” food or feel tempted to overeat or have a craving you feel is “wrong”, the first step is to stop focusing on the food. Focus instead on what your body is saying.
Step 1. Ask “How do I feel right now in this moment?” There are only two valid answers. Either you are hungry, which is natural, or you feel something you don’t want to feel. Instead of just eating the food to avoid the feeling, pause and see how you feel.
Step 2. Write down the feeling you have in a notebook or make a mental note of it. Be as specific as possible, such as “ I feel like I need to be comforted” or “I need a reward” Find an emotional word for example: anger, sadness, fear or regret.
Step 3. Sit down, put your hand on your heart, go inward and welcome your uncomfortable feeling. Breathe it in with loving kindness and compassion. With each breath welcome the feeling, acknowledging and listening with understanding, kindness and love to that younger part of you. Welcome the feeling in your body with compassion. Do this for 1 minute. I like to do this while tapping but it work without tapping too.
Step 4. Once you have acknowledged and felt your feeling go ahead and follow your impulse to eat the food or not.
As you become more emotionally open with yourself you will discover new ways to support yourself. The food is only a mask to cover up something you don’t want to feel. This technique may not prevent you from eating the “bad” food right away but if you stay with it, your cravings will lose their power.
*(adapted from Deepak Chopra)
Tapping Script – Listening To My Body’s Wisdom
Here is a tapping script to open up to hearing your body’s messages.
Take a deep breath, feel your body in the chair, wiggle your toes, get still. Think about listening to your body. How do you feel about it? Do you feel it is hard to listen to it? Perhaps you feel confused or even afraid of what your body might say. Just notice how you feel and where you feel it in your body.
If a feeling comes up, give the feeling a name “I feel confused, afraid, sad, (what ever comes up for you) when I think about listening to my body.”
In this tapping, I will use some things I have personally experienced as well as those from my clients. Change the words as needed for your own feelings.
Starting on the Karate Chop Point (Tapping Points)
Even though I don’t really know how to listen to my body, I love and accept myself and I am open to discovering what my body has to say.
Even though it is hard to listen to my body, I am not sure I can trust it. I deeply and completely love and accept myself with compassion.
Even though I am afraid to listen to my body I am afraid of the pain or emotions that might show up, that’s ok I honor all of my feelings and trust life will show me the way.
Tapping Through the Points (start on the eyebrow point and change points with each sentence)
It’s hard to listen to my body
I don’t know how
It’s not comfortable in my body
I don’t connect with my body
I have been taught to look outside
But now it is time to tune into my body
I want to listen to my body but I don’t know how
I feel afraid (put in your feeling)
I wish I didn’t but I do
I’m not even sure why
I don’t have time to listen to my body
It is hard to listen to my body
It is too confusing
What if I don’t hear anything
It doesn’t feel safe to listen to my body
What if there is too much emotion
How can I trust what my body says
I am afraid of what it might tell me
I am not sure I can believe it
I might not like what it is telling me
What if it tells met to do something I don’t want to do
What if I do it wrong?
Can I really trust my body?
All of this doubt
All of this resistance
Wherever I learned it
It is time to let it go
I choose to let go of my resistance
I want to discover to what my body has to say
We are in this together
Lets get to know one another
You will be with me longer than anyone else on the planet
I choose to make it a good relationship
I want to hear your messages
Lets be best friends
As I listen to you
You also listen to me
We co-create this life together
I listen to my body’s messages with love
I am safe in my body
I trust my body to guide me
I appreciate my body’s wisdom
I am guided to what is true for me
I am free to choose
My body knows what I need
My body cares what I want
I am listening each day
I know my body loves me
I love my body
We are enjoying a new relationship together
I trust the guidance of my body
I love getting to know my body
We are having a great time together
I love hearing the wisdom of my body.
Check back now: Take a deep breath, feel your body in the chair, wiggle your toes. Tune into to your body. How do you feel about listening to it now? Even a small shift opens you up to receiving the messages.
If any other feelings came up make a note of them to tap on when you are ready.
Ask your body questions. The messages might be small and timid right now, but listen for them. Even if you don’t get an answer immediately, you will, just keep listening.
I hope this information allows you hear your body’s wisdom and have a wonderful fun relationship together.
Please leave a comment below. This information comes from my own very challenging relationship with my body. This is what has helped me. I would love to hear about your experience and what you think.