How to tune into the wisdom of your body and feel healthier than ever
Listen to your body...it’s a phrase you’ve likely heard before, but how do you actually do it?
For me, learning to listen to my body is an ongoing process – I still go through times when I ignore the signals it’s sending me, but I’m much better at tuning in than I was in my early 20s! I used to see my body as something I needed to control and restrict - I thought this was how I would achieve an ideal weight or perfect health. Many years ago, it occurred to me that my body was doing its best rather than trying to work against me! It was always trying to be as healthy as it could and I needed to trust and listen to it – when it wasn’t at peak health or functioning optimally, it was trying to tell me something, not failing me.
I started to see myself as being a team with my body and committed to tuning in to what it was really telling me. I started to realise that feeling tired wasn’t a sign I needed an extra shot of coffee, but a sign I needed rest. That a headache wasn’t a sign to pop some paracetamol and power on but to drink more water or take a break from screens. That recurring pain in my body needed to be treated with a holistic approach, not just a quick fix. That skin breakouts or hormonal imbalances weren’t my body misbehaving...they were signals my body needed extra nourishment and balancing.
Now, my body tells me that it likes moving first thing in the morning, lots of water and herbal tea, to be nourished with fresh whole foods and to be asleep by 10pm. It also tells me that it can handle some indulgences and that enjoying life and managing stress are just as important to my health as eating my veggies. ⠀
Here’s some tips to help you listen to your body:
Ask + feel
Get in the habit of mentally asking yourself, what do I feel like eating? What kind of exercise is going to help me feel my best today? What do I need to feel calm, nurtured and healthy today? As soon as we use the word ‘feel’ we’re prompted to tune in to our body and intuition. We step away from ‘shoulds’ and ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ and take our unique needs into account, rather than a restrictive diet that’s healthy for someone else but not for us, exercising purely to lose weight, or pushing past our limits.
If something feels ‘off’ in your body, it’s time to take action. Even if you’re not sure what’s going on, make an appointment with a professional who can support you to find out, whether that’s your GP, naturopath, osteopath, chiropractor, physio, kinesiologist, or anyone else in your support system. Keep pursuing answers until you know what’s going on and have a treatment or management plan in place – this can take some pushing and perseverance but your body will thank you!
Practice unconditional kindness
Start to notice how your criticize your body both mentally and out loud. Often we’re exceptionally hard on ourselves and say far more negative things about our body than positive. If we’re focused on criticizing and beating ourselves up, it’s hard to feel connected and in tune with our body. Start to call yourself out on this criticism by saying something you appreciate about your body when you’re about to say something negative – for example, ‘I appreciate my body allowing my to feel sunshine on my skin’, or ‘I appreciate my body because it allows me to cuddle my partner’. Do this for your friends too – when they’re picking at their appearance, ask them, what do you appreciate about your body?
Journal to connect
Journaling is a great way to connect with our body and writing thoughts down can make things much more clear and easier to take action on.
Try the following prompts:
- My body’s favourite ways to move are…
- I feel most nourished when…
- Some health niggles that might need more attention are…
- Foods my body loves are…
- Foods my body doesn’t love are…
- I could be kinder to my body by…
- If my body could talk, it would tell me…
Enjoy listening to your body beautiful!