Your body is amazing and we, as humans, have generally lost the ability to really tap into and listen to what our body is telling us. The more that we tap into the sensations, the feelings, the emotions that our body tells us, the more we can make better-informed decisions.
I’ve been reading Daniel Kahneman’s book, Thinking, Fast and Slow and I’ve loved learning more about how our brain works and how often our quick-thinking brain kicks into gear. These fast responses, whilst they can keep us safe, can also over-ride those instincts and intuitive feelings we have.
The human gut is lined with more than 100 million nerve cells, it’s actually practically a brain unto itself. Those nerve cells in the gut help us through sending signals of what feels right, of what feels best, of what feels a certain way to move forward.
As humans have evolved though, we have somehow lost track of paying attention to those feelings and to those emotions. Sometimes it can be because of trying to be polite, being busy or doing what we think others want from us, but we still have that emotion, that connection, to our body. And one of the key lessons I’ve learned over the past decade (and I keep learning!), is to really listen to those signals of my body to help me make more informed decisions.
So what does it really mean to listen to your body…those feelings, those sensations, in your stomach, in your gut, and where it’s coming from.
The key is to pause. There is so much power in pause! To actually acknowledge those sensations and take the time out to think about what they are telling you. Is it in regard to a decision? Is it a decision where the outcomes are going to serve you best?
If you’re making a decision about a major purchase – let’s say a car, a house, or a new job or working with a consultant or maybe even dating someone. You need to listen to your body, take the time to pause, breathe deeply and feel what your body is telling you. Does it feel comfortable? Does it feel safe? Does it feel like the best decision to make right now? Do you get a feeling of excitement or fear to move forward?
There are essentially no wrong decisions, but we need to ask, is this the best decision for me right now? And lean into that by listening to what your body tells you. The more you do this, the more you’re able to tap into and understand the signals.
Try this with smaller less risky choices first, like deciding what to make for dinner, what movie to watch or a book to buy.
Now another part of this is listening to the other types of messages that your body may be telling you – like the stiff ankle￼, the sore knee, the skin spot, or the irritable bowel. Whatever it might be in the body that’s perhaps indicating there’s something that’s not quite as healthy as we’d like it to be. These are the amber lights you need to take action on before they are red lights.
The power comes from taking action sooner rather than later, by understanding where the sign is coming from and what you can do to remedy it before it turns into something serious.
Too often in life, we are just pushing through from one thing to the next, and not pausing to understand and explore what those pains – those indicators – are telling us.
So listen to your body when making decisions but also tune in for any other signals around your health and wellbeing, and take action on them sooner to help you be at your best.