Learning to Listen to Your Body

It may sound like new-age crap, but do you truly listen to your body? Do you know what that even means? Connecting with ourselves on a deep, honest level takes slowing down and sitting with our thoughts; something that’s not easy to do in these crazy, hectic, and tech-overload times. It’s possible, however, to learn to listen to your body and get in touch with what you truly need.

The importance of Listen to Your Body

Our bodies practically scream out to us daily, but we’re so busy pleasing others, texting, playing online games, or watching porn that we don’t hear it. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a food craving that tells you your body needs certain vitamins. For example, I’ve been living out of a suitcase, traveling North America for over a year, and healthy food is not always available. My body actually tells me to find fruits and vegetables every day and that message comes in the form of cravings for orange juice or leafy greens.

Additionally, our bodies send us warnings when we are spread too thin, stressed out, tired, or filled with sadness. The important thing is to set a tone where you make peace with your body, stop doing things to cancel it out, and listen to what it’s telling you instead of numbing it out with technology, caffeine, drugs, and alcohol. Western culture would have us think that we should constantly battle our bodies when what we need to do is become best friends with them.

What’s my energy level?

Do you tend to make yourself stay up late because you feel that you should be out having fun? When you’re tired, do you push even more complexly to get more done, be more places, or party harder? Forcing yourself to stay awake is self-administered torture and will catch up with you in time. There’s nothing wrong with letting yourself feel tired and going home to get in bed early when you need to. There’s nobody out there in charge of how cool or young you’re supposed to be. It’s all in your head, so the next time someone invites you out for a night of bar-hopping, when you’d instead get in your pajamas with a good book, listen to yourself and honor your need for a comfy, cozy time at home.

Do you feel rested and ready to greet the day in the morning? If not, you’re probably not getting enough sleep. It could also be alcohol and drugs taking their toll on you. If you’re constantly hitting the coffee and snacking on sugary, processed foods to get through the day, it’s time to step back and tweak your routine. How much energy you have relies upon what you do or don’t do to nourish and support your fantastic body. It carries you around, and yet it gets neglected and abused. Stop and quietly reflect on what you’re doing to yourself (or not doing enough of), then make a list of things you’d like to improve. The answers are all there—be ready to listen.

Sit quietly before making any big decisions.

If you’ve been arguing with someone, it’s time to sit and meditate for a while. Be courageous enough to take yourself out of an argument, ask for some time alone, and see what your body tells you. If your belly hurts or you start sweating when you think of someone or something, your body sends you a loud and clear message. If your heart feels sad or actually aches when you think about being apart from someone, there’s another message.

Of course, every situation is different; it’s also good to talk to a spiritual advisor, yoga teacher, family member, or good friend for clarity and advice. The bottom line is that you already have the answers and solutions to all of life’s challenges and problems. It’s just very likely that you’re afraid to listen—and it’s normal for that to be the case. We all go through this and it is possible to listen to your heart if you try. After some reflection, see which way you’ll go. Perhaps it’s a strained relationship, changing jobs, or moving to a new city. Mediate, write a journal entry on your feelings, and proceed.

Movement, breathing, and fresh air

It’s a fact that depression and anger do not get any better without some form of daily physical activity—therapists and Western and Eastern doctors agree. Fresh air and a change of scenery will allow you to stimulate circulation, respiration, and perspiration. Once the body gets moving, the mind is allowed space to think slowly, calmly, and rationally.

Look for simple breathing exercises online, or talk to a yoga instructor. I had a doctor in college tell me that I was mouth breathing, never allowing myself time to really catch my breath. Once I slowed down and started to study yoga and meditation, I finally paid attention to my breathing. Simply slowing down and catching your breath will pay dividends.

Wake up and appreciate your body. You’re stronger, smarter, and more wonderful than you think.

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