Hmm, I’m kinda hungry. I probably shouldn’t eat anything though—we might be going out later. Man, I’m tired … but I can’t go to bed now—it’s only 8pm!
It’s amazing how we can overcomplicate even the simplest things sometimes, like listening to our bodies. If you’re hungry, eat; if you’re full, stop; if you’re tired, sleep. Although, since most of us have gotten so out of touch with our bodies it can feel harder than it really is sometimes.
Would you like to listen to yourself more often?
Well, if you want to simplify your life in one small way, try taking these steps to listen to your body more often.
I have always struggled being in touch with my body. My typical response to, “Are you hungry?” is, “Hmm, I’m not sure.”
This is how it’s been for as long as I can remember. Questioning if I was hungry or not, unsure if I wanted more to drink, forcing myself to stay awake even though I couldn’t keep my eyes open.
Some of this was due to simply being out of touch with my body. Most of it was due to second-guessing myself, overanalyzing a situation or flat out refusing to listen to my body in the moment.
As I started practicing mindfulness, I became more aware of what was going on inside of me. Now, I continuously practice not only being aware but also listening to what my body has to say.
In this day in age when distraction is the norm, everyone has an opinion on something and justifications are protocol for living, it is no surprise that so many of us are out of touch.
Not only does being in touch simplify things, it is a healthier option.
Putting down my fork and not eating another bite when my body says it is full keeps me from overeating. Noticing when I’ve had enough to drink and not ordering another keeps me from feeling sick. Sleeping when my body says it is tired gives my body the time it needs to replenish and recharge.
To be in tune with your body, you must:
Be in the moment
If you are busy regretting what just happened or worrying about what might happen later, you are more likely to mistake what is going on inside your body or choose not to listen to it. Instead of worrying that your task list won’t get completed if you go to bed now, try listening to your body and see how much more energy and productivity you have the next day.
Avoid judging the sensation as right or wrong, good or bad
There is nothing wrong with being hungry or full or drunk or tired. These are important cues your body is giving you. Listen to them without judging them. Next time your mind starts to say, “I shouldn’t be hungry, I just ate” or “It’s such a waste to leave so much on my plate" or “if she’s getting another drink I suppose I should, too” listen to your body instead of your thoughts.
Release any expectations or attachment to something being a certain way
Just because you are hoping to hear from someone about dinner plans doesn’t mean you can’t go ahead and eat something now. Just because you always stay drink-for-drink with your friend doesn’t mean you have to today. When we allow our expectations or attachments determine our actions, we are out of touch with our bodies and cause unnecessary stress—on our bodies and on our minds.
Imagine if we all were more in tune with our bodies. Just think what impact that could have on the struggles with obesity, alcoholism, eating disorders, chronic stress, lack of productivity, high rates of burn-out, heart disease—just to name a few.
Next time your body tries to tell you something, tune into that and tune out the thoughts that have up until now been calling all of the shots.
What is the biggest struggle you have in terms of listening to your body? Join the conversation by leaving a comment.