What does your body need? What is it trying to tell you? What do the aches and pains mean? Are they all just physical?
I often wonder why do I put off tending to my own bodily needs such as stretching and increasing flexibility, & cardio. As well as other beneficial or other more intense movement such as dance or sports. Yet we often spend much of our time sitting down or exhausting ourselves working or escaping through binge drinking and overeating to bury our feelings.
We’re taught in the west that the body and the physical world on one level is all there is, and we should look after our bodies. On another level we can and do think of our bodies as a sort of brain taxi and we should not be too body focus or risk being self centred or narcissistic. However through observing the traits of modern society in contrast to more ancient teachings around how we use our bodies in daily life it’s very clear to me that listening to our bodily needs and wisdom is exactly what we need. Many people are out of balance and are poisoning themselves to death in various ways in order to avoid feeling whatever unbearable feelings are hidden underneath their day to day persona, or the mask that we use to convince ourselves and others that everything is fine and well in the world around us. Perhaps we were told at a young age that big boys and girls don’t cry, or that we are wrong to feel the way we do. So we have made our lives based on the very damaging and misguided belief that it is wrong to feel the way we do, or- “what’s the point in feeling my feelings, how will they help?”
A lot of the people who I treat like myself, suffer from physical ailments, in particular stomach upsets and IBS type type symptoms, as well as lower backaches and headaches. In my personal and professional experience these symptoms often increase or worsen when we avoid or ignore and don’t take responsibility for what they are trying to tell us and what we need to learn from them. This includes – ignore them and pretending we don’t feel that way, judging and punishing ourselves and others for feelings we or they should not have, distracting ourselves with superficial entertainment that we don’t learn anything from to avoid the feelings we wish to deny, using excessive alcohol and recreational drugs to numb or avoid our feelings, refusing to admit to ourselves that there is something to be learned and explored.
All these traits and behaviours can be explored and learned more about in therapy and coaching. The great thing is that we get a lot of warning signs in our bodes which are trying to wake us up to taking positive action for our emotional selves so we can be well again. Through exploring our default personality types we can learn about our particular type of self saboteurs and work on developing our weaknesses and cultivating our strengths. Part of this can be achieved by getting out of our comfort zone. Something I’ve written about before, through exploring new activities that embody the qualities of being that we are looking for.
For example it could be needing more assertiveness, or the exact opposite, a softer more relational quality perhaps. Or even developing the capacity to deal with difficult emotions, and different perspectives or points of view. Often what we need may not at first be apparently obvious to us, and we may well shy away and avoid what we really need most in favour of something far easier and already inside our comfort zone.
Though the comfort zone can be helpful and keep us safe from unnecessary harm, it can also hinder us and prevent us from growing and learning.W