How often have you gone to get yourself another coffee, soft drink or packet of lollies when you were feeling tired, stressed or upset? We tend to reach for these sugar laden, quick pick me up foods because we are looking to change how we are currently feeling. While it may change our physiological chemistry for a short period of time, very rarely does it actually create any long term solutions for the way our body may be emotionally communicating to us through our body. While sugar especially has the ability to give us that energy 'high' to help us push through those 3pm energy crashes or stressful times at work it is only a temporary fix for a possibly ongoing long term issue.
We are so busy in our day to day lives because we have forgotten how to lovingly say 'no' to social engagements, family commitments and working long hours on a work project. We push through barriers we think we can handle and expect our bodies to just bounce back quickly and effortlessly even after a cold or flu. The long term problems are huge, with many people suffering adrenal exhaustion, physical and mental burnout and a complete detachment from their physical and emotional body. It was after 3 years of not paying attention to my body and pushing myself beyond my limits, that I ended up with chronic pain, fatigue, adrenal exhaustion, weight gain, skin breakouts and anxiety. I know I am not the only one who has had some of or all of the above symptoms purely because you have pushed yourself too far and exposed yourself to far too much stress.
So what if I told you there was another way?
Rather than grabbing another coke why not ask your body what it needs right now? Why not speak to it with love and compassion and find out how you are REALLY FEELING?
Today I have 5 simple practises that you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you feel into your body, so that you can regain your energy, your vitality and really nourish your body with love and compassion.
Questions to ask yourself...
While we can sense our aches and pains the question is how deeply do you connect with your body on a daily basis?
How fast are you moving during the course of your day? Do you rush from place to place? Is your breathing shallow and does your chest feel tight?
By simply being aware of our body on a regular basis you are able to tap into the constant feedback and messages your body is giving you.
*TIP* At least two times a day stop what you are doing and put all of your attention on your body. Notice any sensations that you are experiencing. Notice the depth of your breath, your posture, any aches and pains or discomfort you may be feeling. Are you tense and gripping? And most importantly what activity are you doing and how is that currently making you feel?
Our breath can be one of the most overlooked bodily actions because it is an automatic response in the body, but how often do you notice your breath becoming short and shallow during your day? As you are reading this I want you to take a moment and take a deep breath, filling your lungs fully, then slowly and gently releasing the breath. Think about when was the last time you took a long and deep breath? We often breathe more shallow when we are not conscious of our breath and when we are in a more alert and stressed state. When we are dealing with chronic stress it is important that we spend each day connecting to, and taking deep breaths. This not only will help calm your mind and help you deal with the stress that you are currently experiencing but also on a physiological level it will activate the parasympathetic nervous system responsible for calming and relaxing the body. Even if you are not able to do all of the below practises everyday then this would be the one I would do everyday without fail. Having awareness of your breathe is is such a small yet effective practise that will help you connect to your body and really tune into all the beautiful messages it is communicating with you.
2. Body Scan
The body scan is a simple mindfulness meditation practise which is a great way to tune into and connect to your body. This meditation works best by lying on your back on a mat or rug or you can even do it laying in bed (which I like to do). Spend a few minutes connecting to your breath and feeling the movement of your chest as you take some deep long breaths. Then start to bring awareness to the physical sensations in your body, in particular to those places where you are in contact with the floor or bed. On the exhalation of each breath allow yourself to let go, and sink deeper into your mat or bed. The intention of this practise is to bring awareness to each part of your body. You may not feel more relaxed or calm but don't worry as we are using this practise to bring focus to how we are feeling. Then begin the process of bringing your attention to each part of your body. Start with focusing on feeling the sensations of your toes, heels and the soles of your feet, noticing any sensations you are feeling. Continue this process all the way up to the top of your head.
There are so many benefits of adding some stretches into your daily routine. These include helping you to increase and move the energy that may be stagnant in your body, which may be present if we don't move enough. Stretching also can provide relief from pain, improve our posture as well as help us relax and relieve stress from our body. Stretching is so important as it allows us to really focus in on how our body is feeling. Whether you feel tension, fatigue or pain it allows you to hone in on these physical sensations that your body is communicating to you.
Being mindful of our posture is very important especially when we are bringing awareness to our body. If our posture is slouching we may have physical pain in our body that we are not attending to. I know that I have a tendency to hunch my shoulders forward especially when I am stressed, which creates tension in my shoulder blades and neck. By bringing awareness to your posture and readjusting it on a daily basis you are also allowing yourself to connect to, and feel into your body.
Yoga is a truly powerful way to connect to your body. While there are many different forms of yoga, essentially yoga is a moving meditation which allows you to connect to your body whilst doing movement. My favourite type of yoga right now is Raja Yoga which focuses on pranayama breath exercises, alignment of the body and long and deep powerful meditations. You may find that you prefer a different form of yoga to help you connect to your body, the trick is to experiment and find a style that you can connect to the most.
So the next time you go to reach for a bag of lollies or your third coffee for the day, why not tune into your body and really FEEL what is is communicating to you? You will be surprised at the difference some of these practises will do for the health and wellbeing of your body, mind and spirit.
As always I would love to hear from you, share with me in the comments below or email me and tell me if these strategies worked for you.
Also If you are feeling called to work with me I have just opened up a limited number of 1:1 coaching spots for February. I don't want you to miss out on the opportunity to take some time for yourself, together we will work through simple, easy and effective practises that will help you to connect to your emotional and physical body. For further information you can find my coaching packages here or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Love Jasmin xx