May Challenge: 5 Ways to Listen to your body
As promised, today’s post features some easy ways to better listen to your body. With so much information available to us, so many things that must be done right now, and in a world as fast-paced and saturated with “stuff” as our is, listening may be the most important tool to claiming back your health. Here are five ways to listen to your body:
This is by far one of the most powerful tools we have. This is true whether we are talking about nutrition, food, or anything that can do good or harm to our body. Think about having a really good conversation with your friend. If your friend needed some good advice or needed your support and love wouldn’t you stop to let them speak? Our bodies are saying things to us. Hunger cues, pain, anxiety, love, excitement, “butterflies” in the stomach… these are all ways our body speaks to us. How can we expect to hear them if we don’t stop and listen.
Before each meal, stop for a moment and see what your body needs. At the beginning of each day, stop for a moment before jetting off to accomplish your to-do list. Maybe there is something you need to do (or something you can cross off that list). At the end of the day, stop to reflect: What made you happy? What made you feel ill? What would you like to improve upon tomorrow.
Evaluate the craving.
I’m not just talking about food cravings here. Sometimes our bodies crave social media. Sometimes it craves a good jog. But just like food, not all cravings are created equal. Some cravings are our body’s way of saying, “Hey! I really need this.” Other times it’s a result of habit, psychology, or compensation. Is what you are craving really what you need? If the answer is “yes,” go for it. I say this even if your body says it’s craving ice cream. If we really stop and evaluate we can better serve our body and all it’s needs: nutritional, social, enjoyable, etc. It can help us let go of guilt because we are doing what is best.
This is always my “go to” answer for almost anything. Breath is so essential to all health, but it’s also critical to listening to our body. Breathing opens us to change. It reminds us of life. It relaxes, heals, and nourishes. It quiets the brain and allows us to connect mind and body. Taking a few minutes each day (or better yet, each hour) to focus on your breath will allow you to listen with new awareness. Just try it.
Don’t be a zombie!
As I already mentioned in this post, if we want to benefit from a vitalized, healthy body we need to connect to that body rather than drowning out our good intentions with too many distractions.
You can’t listen if you are still holding on to any ideas/beliefs that are forcing you into a “should” mentality. This doesn’t mean letting go of healthy ideas, but it does mean opening up your viewpoint of what healthy might mean to you at this particular moment. Repeat after me, “just let it go.”
What helps you better listen to your body? What makes it hard? Let me know!
(top featured image by “Anwaar, Flickr)