Okay, what does that even mean? Listen to your body?
Like, literally listen?
Well, maybe if you’re later in years and your joints sound like someone crumpling bubble wrap, listening might indeed be a useful clue.
But for the most part, it’s hard to figure out what “listen to your body” actually involves.
So today, I'm going to tell you.
Let me hear your body talk
Bodies don’t talk in words. They talk in older, more subtle, more primal signals.
Pain or pleasure.
Feeling hot or cold.
Health or illness.
At times those signals are loud and clear, like when you stub your toe and your body yells “Shiiiiiiiiit, that really f*!^*$#g hurt!” with an immediate, intense stab of pain.
OR when you get the stomach flu, complete with a hellish headache and projectile... everything.
Other times those signals are a little foggier, or we don’t pay attention to them as much. Or at all.
Here are a few ways you can tune in to what your body just might be saying to you.
Set the stage
While you can listen to your body any time, any where, it helps when you don’t have other distractions.
So next time you’re somewhere quiet, just take a moment.
Focus your attention quickly over your body from head to toe.
Go body part by body part, sort of like a brief “scan”.
Just keep it pretty quick and easy to start.
During that 30 seconds (or so) you’re scanning, see what you notice.
Here are some things to look for.
- Right now, does anything hurt?
- If so: Where? How?
- What is the pain like? Achey? Stinging? Sharp? Diffuse? Etc.
- Right now, do you feel calm and relaxed, like you’re in a good comfy spot? Like you can chill out and focus?
- Or do you feel jumpy, restless, fidgety, or irritable? Maybe distracted and scattered? Ants in your pants?
- How’s your breathing right now?
- Right now, do you feel full of zest, mojo and vigor, ready to grab the world and sucker-punch any obstacles in your way?
- Do you feel draggy or blah? Or even downright exhausted?
- Are you sleepy or alert? Craving caffeine or happily unwinding?
- How did you sleep last night? How many hours? Was it a good quality sleep?
- Are your joints feeling flexible, limber and supple?
- How well can you get around and do the things you want to do?
- Anything creaking, crunching, aching or restricted?
- Anything feeling especially tense or relaxed?
- Are you hungry or full? How do you know?
- Are you craving anything or do you feel like eating?
- How’s your digestion today? Everything humming along?
- If you had to describe it, what words would you use for your overall state of wellness and vitality right now?
- What about your overall mood?
- Or your overall outlook on life?
Don’t judge; just gather the data.
Whatever you notice, just let it be. Don’t try to change or fix it.
All you’re doing is gathering data. Just observing.
Getting that feedback. Tuning in.
Remember: It’s not “good” or “bad”. It's just information.
Try this today
- Find 30 seconds (or so) to tune in for a quick scan of your body.
The bathroom is a great time to do this. Or just before or after a workout.
Wherever you have 30 free seconds, you have an opportunity to check in and gather some data.
- See what you notice as you scan.
It can be anything. But I suggest a few cues to look for:
- attention, calm and focus
- energy levels and fatigue
- mobility and muscle tension
- appetite and hunger
- overall outlook
- Don’t judge. Just gather the data.
Collect the feedback your body is offering. It’s just information.
Remember, you are your own best experiment.
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My best to you,