One of my January reflection goals was to learn to love myself again. A part of that process has been making it a routine to listen to my body.
Listening to your body is a practice (and yes, sometimes it is hard + involves tissues <3 <3 <3). It means pausing to sit, breathe, relax the muscles in your face, neck, shoulders, all the way down to your toes. It means asking your inner self, “how do you feel” and “what do you need?”.
Doing this helps avoid ignoring yourself and ignoring problems that are causing heaviness, sadness, doubt, anger or other uncomfortable feelings. Also, it encourages you to look inward to see things clearly. Lastly, it combats disconnection with self that often comes with depression, anxiety and other mind obstacles.
Oftentimes, this can be difficult.
For a few minutes each day, try it :)
There’s a lot of ways to listen to your body. Here’s one method that I’ve been practicing lately with relieving, calming, balancing and centering feels.
1. Throughout the day, whenever you feel discomfort, sit in those feelings.
I had a bad habit of eating, watching TV or trying to push through and deny I was feeling bad at all. No more denial! Yayyyy! No more bailing on hanging out with me, myself and I! Yayyyy!
This step is probably the toughest of them all because the hardest part is starting.
…or in this case…stopping.
Stop everything you’re doing, breathe and listen.
2. Notice how your emotions feel vs. your body.
This can be hard to decipher. Sometimes my body feels happy but my emotions are sad, heavy or angry. If you can’t separate this, that’s okay! Maybe the next time (or the 100th time) you’ll sense a defined difference, and maybe you won’t and that’s okay too <3
At times, noticing a separation between your emotional body and your physical body can be helpful to realize what is true and what isn’t. For example, one time I acknowledged that a friend I had hung out with was angry and so I felt emotionally heavy, but my body was happy. I realized I had let their emotions sink into me and released them.
4. If you journaled about it, try to find a theme or themes and then write a letter to yourself about what you need.
For example, if a theme you found was comparing yourself to others, this could be the letter you write to yourself:
This last step has been extremely beneficial for me! Applying the direction and advice written in the letter to yourself will allow you to see and feel self improvement and catch negative self-talk earlier. It’s like you’re growing this muscle in your brain that will become stronger and stronger the more you practice. Listening to your body will become an instinctual routine <3 <3
How to Listen to Your Body: Poem
Below is a poem I wrote to inspire you to make listening to your body a part of your self-love routine.
No matter how much
I give up
Lack of air
Never fully there
Convincing myself I’m a failure
And when I take a minute
To close my eyes and breathe
I hear my heart beat thud
At first overwhelming
But soon stillness becomes control
And I am aware that nothing really matters
Except my happiness.
And if I can’t enjoy the journey
Then I have missed out on the point of life
I hope this helps! Email me about your experiences and if you have any questions <3 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Sending you positive vibes,
The Strange is Beautiful
Shannen is a Peruvian-American writer, musician and yogi.
Learn more about her here.