You’ve heard the sentiment – “Take care of your body. You only get one.” You know you should eat more fruits and vegetables, and have a consistent workout routine.
Yes, physical health is important, but we can’t forget about the deeper connection with our bodies.
I’m not going to lecture you on your health. I want to focus on how to deepen your connection with your body and learn the language it speaks.
What it looks like when you’re disconnected from your body
You have low energy, are stressed/anxious more than usual, and are holding tension in your body. Your breath is shallow. You find it difficult to identify what you’re feeling and how to put it into words. You’re numbing your body with things like painkillers or food, but not getting to the root of what it’s trying to tell you.
6 Ways to Embody & Embrace Your Body
Why is this important? Because you’re not meant to think your way through life! You have emotions and senses for a reason. Once you start inviting your body to the conversation, you’ll gain access to information that’ll help decision-making become easier.
You’ll feel things on a new level, which helps bring clarity and direction to your path. Here are 6 ways that I use to embody my body and understand the wisdom it has to share.
Move to music.
The body is meant to move. We spend so much time in our heads and at our desks that we forget how good it feels to be in our bodies and move to music. Babies are born with an instinct for moving to the rhythm and tempo of music – even finding it more engaging than speech. If we’re born to move, why do we stop?
Music therapy has been used for centuries to help people heal from emotional and mental pain. The power of music is something that resonates deep within our beings. It’s a way to express ourselves and our feelings without words. Music helps us move through negative emotions by giving out energy when we need it most.
Oftentimes, when I’m trying to figure something out logically, it’s when I take a dance break that the answers come. It’s as if the body knows the answer, but I’m not allowing it to speak its native tongue. Dancing doesn’t need to be for anyone else but yourself, so give it a shot. You have nothing to lose but everything to gain.
Check out my post “How dancing made me more confident” to read how dancing has also made me more empowered in life.
Go deeper: Put on music and let your body be moved. Don’t care about how you look – feel into the music and notice how your body reacts.
Take yourself outside.
Spending time outside is a great way to refresh and rejuvenate. It helps you be more productive, reduces stress levels by increasing your vitamin D intake (which keeps you healthy!), and also provides space for relaxation.
Studies show that the average American spends 93% of his/her day indoors. Taking some fresh air goes a long way in making sure you’re not lost inside your head too much, and it gives you a break from the barrage of stimuli that’s always around.
You can take it one step further by grounding (also known as earthing), which electrically reconnects you to the earth. You can do this by walking barefoot on natural ground, lying on the ground, or submerging in water.
Go deeper: How would you like to spend time outdoors? How often?
Engage your senses.
To know your body is to love it. Spend time exploring each of the five senses to understand how they impact you. For example, if you love stepping on brittle leaves, go deeper into the sensations with each step. Where do you feel it in your body? What do you hear, smell, see, feel? Spend time delighting in what your body is experiencing. The same applies to feelings of discomfort. Where does your body feel stress or worry? The senses anchor you in the present moment and help you understand how your body speaks to you. Learn about the Japanese practice of Forest Bathing that engages the 5 senses, eases stress and worry, and helps to relax and to think more clearly.
Go deeper: Set aside 1 minute for each sense – taste, smell, touch, sight, sound. What kind of moods, emotions, or thoughts/memories do they evoke?
Speak your thoughts aloud.
Speaking aloud means that you are taking a step into reality, making what’s in your head real and tangible for both others and yourself. You may not realize how valid your words are until after having said them and felt the reaction from inside yourself. An emotion will bubble up and there’s no going back. It’s as if your body is saying “Yes! This is my truth!”
Go deeper: As you process your feelings and emotions, try stating them aloud. How does your body react?
Talk to your body & wait for a response.
If you talk to your body, it will listen and share with you. Your muscles can tell the answer in a way that is more direct than any other form of communication. This is called muscle testing. I use this method by asking if something (i.e. a supplement or food) is good for me, then I close my eyes and wait for my body to lean forward (yes) or backward (no).
A second way to communicate with your body is through visualization. For example, if I am debating whether or not to go somewhere, I visualize myself in that location – the sites, the sounds, all of it. As I hold this vision, I tune in to how my body is reacting. Does it feel excited (yes) or does it feel underwhelmed or nothing at all (no).
A third way to have a dialogue with your body is through journaling. The writing process helps slow you down, which allows for answers to enter your awareness. Write down your question (i.e. Why does my back hurt?) and write what comes to mind. As new questions arise from the journaling, continue the same process – write down the new question and then the answer. This may start out as a cerebral activity, but the more you do it, the more you’ll start feeling the wisdom of your body and how information is shared energetically.
Go deeper: Dedicate a week or more exploring 1 method at a time.
Thank your body.
Sometimes it is hard to see the beauty in our bodies. We often focus on what we don’t like instead of all the amazing things it does for us every day! We’re all meant to be different shapes and sizes – plain and simple.
Your body has given you everything you need to live your life and take care of yourself. It’s fine to have health goals, but don’t beat yourself up in the process of working towards them. Instead, look at your “imperfections” and replace the negative viewpoints with ones of positivity. Do you have stretch marks from having kids? Thank your body for creating a life. It’s a blessing to have stretch marks. Are you having health issues? Think about what your body’s doing well. It’s hard to understand why we suffer but finding a silver lining helps to put things into perspective and not get overwhelmed by what you feel is wrong.
Go deeper: Write down 3 things you’re grateful for about your body for each night. It’s time to rewrite those negative stories you tell about yourself!
Next in the Series: How to Embody Your Spirit
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