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B082: How to listen to your body

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If you’ve got a strained back, a bad knee, or an unsettled tummy more times than not these days, you could feel a few inches better by learning how to listen to your body.

Earlier this week, I spoke to Courtney Townley all about how to become healthier. I appreciated hearing about her four key practices that help transform people’s health. She breaks it down like this…

  • self-awareness of your behavior patterns
  • organization (setting your life and daily routines up for success)
  • follow-through
  • re-alignment when you get off-track

And then, rinse, repeat over and over and over again. Not striving for perfection, but gently giving yourself grace as you #DoTheThing.

So, with this framework in mind, here are three ways to get started this week…

How to listen to your body in 3 simple steps

1. Get still to tune in

I learned the art of body scanning from Andy Puddicombe over at Headspace, the app.

It’s a simple, 3-minute meditation technique where you mentally scan down, from head to toe. The aim is to take notice of any different sensations in your physical body.

You may notice neck pain here, heartburn there. Or your shoulders are hunched like a caveman (have you been sitting in front of your computer too long?)

Whatever it is, notice what hurts or where there is general discomfort.

Then acknowledge it. Don’t try to fix it, just notice how the body feels in this very moment. You see, it’s in the stillness where you will bring about greater awareness to every single part of your body. To listen to your body is a slow and methodical process. And in that process,“You’re reducing stress, grounding yourself towards feeling more calm, and increasing self-compassion.” – Andy Puddicombe.

Tune in for 3 minutes

So, give it a go now. Get still, and see how this helps you to listen to your body on a deeper level: Headspace’s free 3-minute body scan meditation

Ahhhh, doesn’t that feel nice! I like to imagine I’m taking a super warm shower in one of those epic outdoor shower stalls by the beach. The sun is shining, the warm water dripping down from head to toe. That certainly calms me down and brings me all the feels!

2. Get moving to listen up

In last week’s bonus post: How to set life goals with simplicity, I shared that I’ve been taking dance classes with Katye Coe of Dance4. I absolutely love it!

Fun fact: I studied dance in college at the University of Texas in Austin 20 years ago! Getting back into dance at age 42 has awakened something that’s been asleep inside me for a very long time.

Bottomline, when I move my body, I feel alive.

Modern day working⁠—in a device driven culture⁠—means⁠ that we are sitting in front of our laptops for 8, or more hours a day. We’re likely sitting in an uncomfortable chair, squinting our eyes and contorting our bodies. And (if you’re anything like me), taking incredibly shallow breaths, especially when we’re stressed.

You guys, our bodies aren’t made for this sedentary lifestyle! We’ve got to get moving, here’s an idea…

A tip to get your body in motion

What’s your favorite song? The one that really lights you up inside when it comes on?

Find this song on YouTube, Apple Music, or wherever you listen to your music these days, and I want you to get up, and get moving.

If you’re in a public office space, could you pop in the earbuds and lock yourself in the bathroom for 5-minutes? If you’re at home, crank up the tunes as high as they go! Get up, get your dance on, or at the very least, shake the wiggles out while listening to your favorite tunes.

Just 5-minutes, that’s all you need.

And if you need some inspiration, tune in to my absolute favorite playlist A Whole Lotta YES! This playlist helps me get back to center, and it may just work for you too!

Get your body moving to get in touch with what your body is really trying to tell you in this moment. And if you’re worried about what other people think, or you’re nervous about looking a fool, consider these questions…

  • At what point are we going to realize that healing our bodies and our minds are 1000% more important than worrying about looking stupid in front of others?
  • At what point are we going to value ourselves over the perception of others?
  • At what point are we going to finally give zero F’s?

I’m ready for real transformation and healing. Are you?

3. Get help

There are incredible healers, helpers, guides, and friends, perfectly placed at the exact time you really need them the most. (Just like me and the fact you’ve found The Simplifiers! Holla!!).

In fact, they are surrounding you now, even if you don’t know it yet. So, it might be time to ask for help. I’ve been dealing with a bad knee and lower back pain for the last 2 years or so, by myself. Part of me realizes now that my pain issues in these two areas of my body might be flaring up due to my mental health and wellness. It’s not just a physical issue, like I originally thought.

In the beginning, I sought out help from massage therapists, personal trainers, physiotherapists, pelvic floor specialists, doctors, and more. Each person helped me in their own unique way, offering a piece of the puzzle, and techniques to help me get back to thriving.

This journey also made me realize that while my body wants (and craves) movement, stretching, and working out at the gym, it craves other things too. Better hydration, more sleep, less stress (by doing less in my work life), stillness, and giving my mental wellness a little focus and attention, as well.

I wouldn’t have figured that out on my own. I needed to reach out and ask for help.

Listen to your body pain

If you’ve got chronic pain or a part of your body that feels a bit broken, I want to encourage you to get help. And remember, what screams as pains and aches in your physical body, might also be caused by other factors (mentally and spiritually) as well.

What’s one part of your body that hurts right now? Identify it. Now, post on social media to your friends that you’re looking for recommendations of people who could help you with that. They may suggest someone or a type of treatment you hadn’t even considered yet.

When we open up about our vulnerabilities and brokenness, we move one step closer to getting back to thriving.

One final whisper

This body of yours is so beautiful. It really, truly is.

Just think about how magnificent it is, right here in this moment. You’re creating new blood cells, your heart is pumping, you’re growing new nails, and your lungs are working without you telling them to. How cool is that!!?!

That’s just some of the unconscious things your body does.

But what about the conscious things she is capable of? Like dancing. Even if you think you’ve got no moves… who cares!

Or what about the fact that your body loves to speak to you, and download deep wisdom to help guide you along?

Or when your body seems to break down or get sick after a big event? What is she trying to tell you then?

Your Intuition is strong… listen to her. The answers you seek are already deep inside you.

Be brave, listen, and then take daily, imperfect action towards healing.

Your curves, your jiggles, your wrinkles, your whatever that makes you feel ‘less than’. Just today, I want you to try to love them.

Give them the gentleness and grace that you give your best friend.

Give them the love and tenderness that you would give a beloved child. Give them permission to be exactly how they are now, without attempting to ‘fix’ them. See what happens with that energy and follow the signs.

You can do this, I believe in you.

It’s time to SIMPLIFY.

If this thought of the day inspired you…

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Thank you!

Show credits: Suzen Marie, our Podcast Editor. Jeffrey Lynn, our Video Editor. Lyden and Janine Yardley, our Show Notes Editors. Manminder Athwal, our Blogger. Aubri Nowowiejski, Chris Justice and George Mills, our advisory board. And I’m your host, Mary Baird-Wilcock. Thank you so much for joining us.

As always friends, keep things simple.

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