Your body is extremely smart and intuitive and can tell you exactly what it needs if you know how to listen to it. But learning how to get cues from your body is the hard part. From when it is time to eat and what you are craving, to when you should get exercise or rest, these cues your body gives you are essential to living a healthier, more balanced, and stress-free life.
Here are some helpful tips for tuning in to your body and understanding what it needs and when.
Do a Quick Body Scan
A fast and effective way for tuning into your body and paying more attention to it is with a body scan. A body scan is simply a method of being mindful of each part of your body. You “Scan” your body by focusing on each body part at a time, and considering if you feel anything in that area. It’s amazing how much you don’t pay attention to unless you’re really focusing on it.
Separate What You FEEL From What You THINK
This is a very important difference to become more aware of if you want to be more intuitive and listen closely to what your body is telling you. It is really easy to think you’re hungry or craving something specific because you think you should be, but do you actually feel the hunger? Or is coming from your brain, instead of your body?
Starting a food tracker is a good place to start. Write down what you eat, why you chose that food, and how your body feels before, during, and after your meal. Over time, you will start noticing the signs your body gives you when you are hungry, just thirsty, or maybe bored or experiencing another emotion aside from real hunger.
Remain Internally Mindful
To be internally mindful is mindfulness not just of your environment of what is happening around you, but also to go inside and be mindful of your feelings, thoughts, and emotions. Many people can be mindful when they are eating a meal and considering how they feel, going for a walk to enjoy nature, or taking a shower and indulging in the hot water. But it’s more challenging to go deep within yourself and be mindful of your shadow side, the things about yourself you might not like to accept, or what you are truly thinking or feeling.
When you can learn how to do this, you develop important intuitive skills not just about your mind, but your body as well. It is also a good idea to keep a journal for writing down these little mindful moments and how you feel during them.
Tune in to Your Breathing
Another way to tune in to your body is with breathwork. This is where you focus more on your breaths and how each of them feels, which helps you to also connect a little closer to your body’s signals. You don’t need to do elaborate breathwork where you are working on holding your breath for minutes at a time. Just simple breathing exercises work just as well for this.
Sit quietly when you have at least 5-10 minutes alone without any distractions. Start with a couple of minutes of just resting, then begin taking a deep breath, holding for a few seconds, being mindful during this breath, then releasing for a few seconds. Keep repeating this breathing exercise as you stay in a mindful state and really pay attention to how your body feels and moves with each inhale and exhale.
Add Gentle Movement to Your Life
If you want to be more connected to your body where you can listen to what it’s telling you, you need to actually move your body! Getting a little more exercise is a great way to start doing this. Don’t worry about following a specific workout program, unless you also have other health goals related to fitness. If you are only adding exercise to be more in tune with your body, then any form of movement will work just fine.
This might include:
- Fitness classes
- Tai chi
Do something fun that gets your body moving and creates that bond between your mind and your body.
Encourage Your Daydreams, Don’t Shy Away From Them
What you think about or imagine in your mind when there is no judgment or rules or restrictions can tell a lot about you. It helps you tune in more not just to your mind, but to your body as well because you are able to take away all your preconceived notions and go inside your mind where the only one who can see what you see, is yourself.
Allow yourself to daydream as much as you want, as you can often get signs that you would not have noticed otherwise.