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  • Writer's pictureJan Johnson

How to Listen to Your Body

Woman meditating, relaxation, listening
What is your body saying to you?

“Listen to your body.” I sometimes give this advice to clients at the end of their reflexology session. Listening to my body right now, it’s saying “I want to slob-out on the sofa in front of the telly and eat biscuits.” I know; not very healthy-holistic-therapist-like, is it? So, what does listening to your body actually mean and how do we do it?

We may listen to our physical body – an aching back, stomach pain or tired feet. Our emotional feelings could be conveying worry, sadness, fear or indecision. The body is wonderful at communicating when something is wrong, especially a serious health issue such as chest pain or shortness of breath. You would certainly take notice and dial 999 straight away! Less dramatically, it may say you need to rest and take things slower for a day or two. A pain on movement will let you know to refrain from certain activities for a while. My physical body is constantly telling me I’m getting older (and I wish it would shut up). Lack of strength, stamina and flexibility are signs of aging and a warning to take more care; but certainly not an instruction to stop being active! A stressed body will definitely call out to you strongly. Stress can cloud your mind leading to poor decision-making, feeling overwhelmed and affecting mood and sleep quality. Taking positive steps to manage stress with holistic therapies such as reflexology can support you mentally, emotionally and physically during difficult times, and ongoing as part of your self-care regime.

There is another part of us that likes to be heard and that is the gut. Not the part that digests food (although that does have its own unique communication methods) but our intuition, sometimes called our sixth sense.

Intuition is like a Wise Old Sage that lives within us all. He frequently stops us making fools of ourselves, keeps us safe and guides us into making the right choices. Okay, I admit, my Old Sage has, on occasion, been less than wise but his intentions are good and he generally has my back. Intuition flows much clearer without over-thinking or seeking the approval of others. Often this gut feeling isn’t logical and yet it can still feel right. Without any scientific explanation, it is our superpower. The women’s version is often heralded as being superior to that of men. This is sure to be a myth but we may not all use this capability to the full.

So, get in tune with your body. Treat it with kindness, respect and love. Replace any negativity with gratitude, as it serves you well day after day. Give your body what it needs to thrive and heal, which may simply be food to quell hunger or sleep because you feel tired. Longer-term, do you need to take more exercise, get off the sofa and eat fewer biscuits! Modern life makes it hard not to push through challenges but being able to pause and take a step back sometimes can build your future resilience. Allow your body and your inner Wise Old Sage to be your guide to good health and a calm mind.

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