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How to listen to your body?

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How to listen to your body?

We hear this often and as a matter of fact, I tell my clients this all the time, “Listen to your body!” We should follow how we feel, right? But what does that really mean? And how do we do it? When most people wake from a long sleep they automatically stretch some part of their body. This is a normal subconscious act of listening to what your body needs. After the first week of bootcamp most of my clients are extremely sore so I tell them to soak in Epsom salt, get a therapeutic massage, use Biofreeze and/or take some Motrin. These may not be things you thought about doing however they are all conscious acts that will help to make you feel better.

One of my new clients on the second day of bootcamp wrote in his meal plan booklet that he ate some cookies. I asked him why he chose to eat the cookies, he stated “After that 2-mile run, I needed the cookies, my body was asking for them”.

So, our bodies do express feelings through varying emotional states but what kinds of feelings should we be listening too? Maybe physical feelings, like stomach pain or tired feet? Or emotional feelings like worry, doubt or indecision? Or desirous feelings, like cravings or urges.

Our bodies are always silently speaking to us, however, most of us tune it out. A headache, swollen ankles, belches or flatus are all signs of something. Long before being diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes we experience warning signs that if we listened to our bodies sooner the outcome may be different.

For many of us, the faint whispers are drowned out by the noises of the hectic pace of our culture. Cell phones, demands at work and home, to-do lists, and the stress of living a modern life create a buzz that makes it difficult to hear our bodies. When we realize what we’re missing, we make adjustments. We carve out time to be alone, be quiet, read and reflect, take social media hiatuses, and just to stop everything so we can really listen. If we practice enough, listening becomes a way of life.

Your body is connected to your brain and sends signals to get your attention because it is paying attention to you. It thinks you’re important! Most of you have spent a lot of time ignoring how you feel. So, I ask you, If you aren’t listening, what are you missing? And what can you do today to carve out time to listen?

▪ Start taking note of warning signs: Our bodies send us warning signs when the pressure is beginning to build. If we listen, our bodies have a way of telling us when we need more or less of something. When we learn to pay attention to the signs we can give our body what it needs.

▪ Do Yoga: On my journey to learning to listen to my body, I discovered yoga and it made a world of difference. Yoga is truly my favorite class to teach. As I pause in each pose, I can feel tightness in certain body parts and freedom in others. In the beginning, I could feel my mind resisting what my body wanted to do in fear that I could not do it. I learned to focus on my breaths, to live in the present moment, and to scan and readjust certain body parts as they called out to me. If you have yet to try or are still resisting yoga, I highly recommend that you give it a go. If you can begin to feel comfortable and actually enjoy the mind-body connection during yoga, you will learn so much about yourself and your body.

▪ Eat mindfully: Before eating ask yourself, “Will this food sustain me or exhaust me?” In fact, this is a great question to ask yourself before doing anything, really! Being aware of whether you are eating out of physical hunger (because you’re actually hungry) or emotional hunger (because you’re bored, sad or tired, etc.).

▪ Slow down. Stop. Be aware. Tune in to your feelings. Count to ten. Listen Carefully!

I hope this article has given you some ideas to help you begin practicing listening to your body. The more you practice the more clarity you will gain and you will find what healthy means for you, what works and doesn’t work for your body and your own unique path to wellness. Remember Fitness Starts From Within…No Mess!

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