“Our bodies are speaking to us all the time. Often, we don’t listen to them until they are screaming at us in pain.” – Jacki, yoga instructor
Our bodies are wonderful, biological machines: they know when we are cold or hot, hungry or full, thirsty, sore and hurt. In theory, we should be able to give our bodies everything they need and know when they are satisfied.
The problem? Our thoughts and emotions get in the way.
The solution: check in with the body periodically and identify cause and effect as to why we are feeling a certain way. Checking in is not about developing guilt, but rather self-control and personal growth.
Food is a prime example. We may eat because we are…
- feeling social pressure
- indulging on food that looks or tastes great
Biologically speaking, we need to eat because we are hungry and need nutrients to nourish our bodies. Sometimes certain foods bring back treasured memories, making us happier and whole. It’s alright to indulge on occasion, both physically and emotionally, but during the majority of meals we can check in with our bodies to see if our stomachs are satisfied. Think: Why am I eating? Am I hungry?
Let’s define here “discomfort” as a antecedent to pain or soreness. Viruses and bacteria aside, we often experience physical discomfort due to our environment or the way we are treating our bodies. This may occur during physical activity, meals, or other daily routine or activities.
Checking in with the body in times of discomfort may alleviate situations. If we are experiencing…
- A headache after a long work day: reduce stress by relaxing, become surrounded by dimmer lighting and quieter environment.
- Discomfort in shoulder from helping a friend move: take a rest day or focus on lower body exercise
- Shin splints while running: adjust running form to diminish or eliminate heel-striking
At times, recognizing and removing a harmful trigger of discomfort, or finding an alternative, will prevent the discomfort from turning into pain or soreness. We will be less likely to use pain killers and instead teach our bodies to avoid future discomfort. Think: How is my setting or what I am doing enabling physical discomfort? How do I prevent it from becoming physical pain?
Checking in with the body develops body awareness and personal growth. It gives us a chance to pause. Our bodies are talking to us; we just have to listen and they will lead us on the right path.