Body Wisdom

Our bodies influence how we think and feel in a way that goes beyond “gut instinct”. There is much wisdom in our physical being, yet we often remain oblivious to it, or even worse, railroad over it regardless. So what does it cost us to ignore the messages that millions of our own cells are giving us?

Today, I’ve been out-of-sorts (or crabbit, as they call it up here!) all day, feeling lethargic and even a bit nauseous… not to mention having trouble concentrating. Why? Largely because I chose to ignore what my body was telling me during the last 24hrs.

Firstly, I was thirsty much of yesterday, yet only managed to drink about 3 glasses of water despite my dry mouth and deep sense of craving. Secondly, I went to bed late even though I was tired and then felt knackered when I awoke in spite of the 9hrs sleep I’d had. And thirdly, I ate a big slab of baked Camembert for lunch rather than finding myself something decent to eat.

We can probably all relate to self-inflicted late nights, over-indulgence and dehydration at times, so what is so significant about this? Basically, because I know better than to do this to myself. Why? Because my body told me so, and has done on many occasions!

I know from past experience that if I am not asleep by about 11pm, then it doesn’t matter how many hours I get, I’ll still wake feeling tired and poorly-rested. I also know that when I am thirsty, I sometimes confuse water cravings for sugar ones… which leaves me feeling doubly bad (because I don’t drink enough water to wash all the sugar out of my system). And I certainly know that when I have dairy these days, I tend to feel sick afterwards – no matter how much I enjoyed it at the time.

I know these things, because my body has repeatedly given me messages confirming them – particularly when I forget myself and decide to splurge with a late night, lots of chocolate or anything creamy! My body is infinitely patient, and despite my continued mistakes, it simply keeps reminding me that I’m not listening.

But the cost is much more than just feeling crabbit all day.

I haven’t taken some of the actions I’d had planned for today to progress my big goals. I have minimised my chance of feeling refreshed and well-rested come the end of the weekend, and will probably find Monday morning more of a struggle because of this. And I also feel guilty, because deep down, I know this is not how my body deserves to be treated.

On top of that, I’ve also re-enforced some of the bad habits I’ve been working to shift – equivalently undoing some of the good work achieved previously. So how can we tune in to our body wisdom to better effect?

Here are a couple of things to try:

  • Simply take a few moments to notice how you physically feel after you eat or drink something. Do you feel good? Lethargic? Refreshed? Unwell?
  • Likewise, when you wake in the morning how do you feel? Are you ready to bound out of bed? Feeling like you need another night’s rest? Stressed because you’ve hit the snooze button a few times without realising?
  • How do you feel at the end of the day, and what were your activity levels? Were you sedentary for most of the day (at a desk, pc or driving etc)? Did you get your body moving with some exercise?
  • Use trial-and-error to check how your body reacts to differences in your diet, exercise or sleep patterns. What seems to work best for you?
  • Try picking just one thing that works well for you, and persist with it for a while. What differences do you notice? And how do you feel if you ignore the magic of your body wisdom by reverting to an old habit or choice?

Whilst it is best to start with just one thing, rather than trying to overhaul all your physical routines at the one time, do notice what happens when you choose the “wrong” thing… because often one bad choice where we ignore our body wisdom seems to lead to multiple bad choices, and they compound to leave us feeling even worse!

Once we’ve started building our awareness of the messages our body tries to send us, we can start paying more attention to other things like our “gut instinct”, and even our reactions to situations or specific people. There’s an infinite amount of wisdom within our millions of cells just waiting for us to start listening to it!

Leave a comment below and share with us one message that your body repeatedly tries to send you, and what impact it has when you choose to ignore the wisdom! Enjoy the process of becoming more body aware!