How To Tune In And Listen To Your Body’s Innate Wisdom

Pay Attention To Your Body’s Innate Wisdom

“There is deep wisdom within our very flesh, if we can only come to our senses and feel it.” — Elizabeth A. Behnke

Friedrich Nietzsche was right when he declared: “There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophies.” We take for granted how well our body serves us until it no longer does. Motor racing analogies abound when referring to the human body as a well-oiled and finely tuned machine. The body communicates to you in silent whispers echoed through aches, pains, emotions, and gut feelings. Many of us drown out the connection with habitual thoughts which occupy attention in our minds.

From our teenage years, we move from an exciting discovery of our body’s innate wisdom to treating it like an instrument during adulthood. Stress, toxic foods and alcohol predominate one’s adult years, which correspond to the most important social period of maturity. Many baulk at the notion of illness during this time, accompanied by a sense of invincibility. Countless young adults are quick to proclaim: “This won’t happen to me,” when counselled to curb their destructive lifestyle choices. Yet disease and illness do not discriminate because you think you are immune to it. Nature is not so forgiving when it comes to the genetic lottery. Just as striking a match makes fire, illness can pervade the body overnight. When the light goes out, there’s little we can do to reignite it.

Though it need not be this way. We can create empowered health by paying attention to our body’s innate wisdom through attentive discipline. For example, Robert Augustus Masters, psychotherapist and healing professional says: “There is a wisdom in the body, a wisdom in feeling, that when accessed and allowed to operate in conjunction with our cognitive capacities, leads to a deeper, wiser, more integrated life.” We must pay attention to the signs the body communicates, since those signals can turn into loud roars if we’re unaware. However unjust, sometimes it’s too late to reverse the progressive stages of chronic illness. How about you? Do you listen to your body when it speaks? If you are tired, do you take it as an opportunity to rest, not push on with work?

Avoid Trading Your Health For Overworking

“Everything you need to know is within you. Listen. Feel. Trust the body’s wisdom.” — Dan Millman

Similarly, A. J. Reb Materi stated: “So many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health.” In our quest to attain material possessions, we conceal the body’s cry for help while we satisfy our cravings. Yet we can never fulfil our desires if we are not in harmony with our inner world. You are no doubt aware that tiredness does not mean reaching for more caffeine, instead it’s a call to slow down and rest. Whilst it is simple advice, many people neglect these signals and plough ahead. Deadlines must be met, the children need to be fed and dropped off at school and we must please our boss, wife or husband’s needs. Yet, before long, the energy we long for has disappeared from our life and we’re addicted to stimulants to keep the flame alive. Are you resonating with this message so far? Can you see that your body is an intricate system and must be tended to with thoughtfulness and consideration?

Coffee and alcohol are ways in which we numb ourselves from the strain of the day, much to the discontent of a wearied body. Whilst I do not intend to paint a grim picture, my experience spanning the past decade and a half shows that some people are prepared to trade their health for work commitments. It is neither my place nor duty to cast judgement on how one organises their life. Yet, when I am called upon to guide people to rebalance their work-life commitments, they view it as heresy when I recommend more rest throughout their week. So how can we be more attentive to the body’s innate wisdom? To begin, you cannot race through the week at 100 km/h and expect to stop at the drop of a hat. It is unwise to throttle your nervous system, since it will eventually wear down. We must allow proper time to rest and digest, otherwise the body becomes trapped in a vicious cycle of stress, to the detriment of our physical wellbeing.

Honour Your Body

“No one can listen to your body for you … To grow and heal, you have to take responsibility for listening to it yourself.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn

Considering this, try to incorporate the following ideas into your life and note how you feel over the coming weeks and months:

  1. Move your body in three-dimensional movement patterns.
  2. Nourish your body with the proper ratio and quality of nutrients. Eat according to your needs and avoid following fad diets.
  3. Get adequate sleep at night or rest throughout the day where possible.
  4. Reduce or manage stress.
  5. Make time for social interactions beyond online mediums.
  6. Allow for quiet time, either through meditation or silent reflection.
  7. Spend quality time in nature.
  8. Be aware of your alcohol consumption so it does not become a vice.

Moreover, be attentive to your mental and emotional constitution. You need not watch every thought, yet notice the primary mental drivers and their associated emotional partners. For instance, are you prone to high levels of stress because of your work-life commitments? If so, reduce or eliminate caffeine and alcohol consumption by replacing it with a contemplative routine. This offers immediate and enhanced physiological benefits. Make it a point to tune in to your body’s signals, known as interoception. Learn to communicate in the body’s language by attending to its needs.

For instance, The Blue Zones refer to five geographic areas of the world where people live the longest. Each group thrives on nutritional requirements specific to the region, which vary to other locations. Some subsist on a semi-vegetarian diet while others consume meat on special occasions. As a result, the human body is adaptable as long as we honour its primary biological processes. As a last point, avoid buying into popular opinion that espouses looking a certain way. Primitive cultures of the past knew how to nourish their bodies without having to contend with marketing hype. They did not have access to media advising them whether the Paleo or 5:2 diet is the regime of choice this month. In other words, avoid treating your body like a machine and expecting it to deliver boundless health and wellbeing. After all, while mechanical gadgets are prone to wear out, the wisdom of the body lingers on.

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