From the blare of car horns to the hum of bustling conversation on our crowded city streets, it is all too easy in our modern world to fall out of step with ourselves.
Our body gives us an array of cues to tell us it needs attention, but we often tend to ignore these signals. And in doing so, we can eventually end up in a more dire health situation. What does it mean though to “listen” to these messages from our body and how can we actually do it?
In this article, we unpack this popular practice and point to some ways you can tap into this crucial stream of personal information to boost your overall wellness, particularly as you age.
Listen Up – Your Body is Speaking To You
Think of your body like the most ultimate of machines. At any given second it is completing a multitude of tasks just to keep you alive. When a component within that well-oiled network begins to misfire, however, your body begins to send signs of distress.
Your mind and your body are inherently connected, so when your body falls into some sort of stress it can relay this information to you. You just have to be ready to listen.
The Danger of Ignoring Your Body’s Messages
The challenge is that although our body tries to tell us that issues are developing, we often push them aside by allowing our mind to take control.
Take for example the marathon runner who has a nagging pain in her calf. That pain might be her body telling her that her system needs a rest, but her mind says she can push through the pain to meet a new record race time.
The end result might be a trip to the hospital with a torn Achilles tendon, requiring weeks of recovery. Had she listened to her body and taken a rest, she might have been able to sidestep such a debilitating injury.
How to Listen In
The good news is that listening to our bodies is an easy practice to accept. Here’s how we can do it.
By slowing down we can be more mindful of our own presence. We are used to moving fast, so stepping back and slowing down may seem strange. But if you take a few slow deep breaths and focus your energy inward you might be surprised how quickly you can tap into your body’s inward rhythms.
Check-In With Your Body
You can also check in with the various parts of your body, ask it a question and allow it to take the lead in responding.
Instead of ignoring your pain or going straight to a bottle of ibuprofen, try taking on a more holistic approach to get in touch with your body’s needs.
Embrace Your Body’s Wishes
Instead of trying to fight against your body’s wishes, embrace them. Being in tune with your body can point you to important changes you might need to make to keep it working well.
How to Continue to Listen
Listening to your body is not a one-time event. Rather, it should be a consistent practice to which you return frequently in order to keep a line of communication open. In addition to these check-ins, there are numerous other easy ways for you to ensure that you are giving your body the resources it needs to stay strong. These might include:
Keeping a regular sleep schedule
Tired bodies can start to malfunction, so make sure you get the appropriate amount of sleep each night to give your body the time to rest and repair itself.
Maintaining a healthy diet
Ensuring that you are offering your body a balanced array of vitamins, minerals, and proteins can go far in giving your body the building blocks it needs for good health.
Numerous studies have shown the long-term benefits of regular exercise in boosting the clarity of our thinking, and with a clearer mind, we will be more able to tap into the needs of our bodies.
Making time for self-care.
In addition to checking in with yourself, you should also make self-care a crucial component of your lifestyle as it is a time you reserve just for your own enrichment.
Whether this means bowing out of an obligation that was causing you undue stress or setting aside time alone to read or take a long walk, these moments allow you valuable time alone with yourself during which you can work on you and only you.
Becoming One With Your Body
Your body is so central to your very existence that you owe it to yourself (and your body) to listen to it and be open to the feelings and sensations it has to share.
By following these strategies you might be able to gain insights you never thought possible simply by listening in.
Author Bio: Christian Worstell is a health and lifestyle writer living in Raleigh, NC.
CLUES YOUR BODY MAY BE SENDING
Listening to your body means becoming aware of the signals it is trying to send to you and learning from them. Here are a few examples:
If you have recurring pain in a certain joint, it might be worth a look into if it never seems to completely heal or go away.
If you’re finding yourself lacking energy every morning after waking up, a look into your lifestyle habits and health might be necessary.
If you’re getting light headed during workouts routinely, a visit to your doctor might be necessary.
Are you starving at a certain time of day? Maybe your nutrition intake needs to be adjusted in order to better fulfill your body’s needs.
These are just a few examples. There could be so many more clues and they are specific to each person. The point is that you’ve got to pay attention and take note of all that your body is trying to tell you. You might even journal it or jot it in a note on your phone.
If you’ve read the above and you still need extra help or a jumpstart into health and fitness, we’ve got you covered. At our fitness retreat, we teach mindful movement and the skills of listening to your body so you can learn and understand what works best for you. Fitness, health and nutrition aren’t black and white. Most of the time, it takes a little trial and error to find what suits your and your goals.
JOIN US FOR A FITNESS RETREAT OR TRAIN WITH US
GET THE LATEST RETREAT UPDATES + FITNESS TIPS
Sign Up For Our E Newsletter