Bonnie (3 months old and Beau (16 months old) are the center of my world right now. I am breastfeeding, changing diapers, putting them down for naps, holding and comforting. Something I have observed about my babies is that they listen to their bodies without apology and demand to get what they need to be well. They are simple creatures that don’t over-complicate anything, and I admire that about them. They have been teaching me the lesson…listen to your body.
It has taken me a lifetime to realize that my body is telling me things and that I need to listen. In the past I would be super tired and still stay up too late or be really hungry but only allow myself a small portion. I would get stress twitches in my eye and nose and continue to do more than what I could or wanted to do. The more I ignored my simple self, the more unhealthy I felt physically and mentally.
My babies are generally very happy and I believe it is because their needs are being met and they do not expect any more or less.
It is Your Turn
Since most adults are not being taken care of by their parents anymore, it is so important that we recognize the signals our body gives us and feed our physical and spiritual selves what they need to thrive.
When I take care of myself, I can care better for those that depend on me. Lately, this lesson has been taught to me as I see the difference between the days I carve out time to clean my face, put on makeup, do my hair and put on nice clothes compared to the days that I don’t. When I stay in pajamas all day and don’t even glance in the mirror, I tend to feel lethargic and unmotivated. The time I spend getting ready might seem selfish to some, but when I do it I show up for my kids and husband much better.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Are you ignoring signals from your body that keep you from being completely healthy?
Is there some time you need or a relationship that you need to say no to?
Keep life simple by recognizing your needs and filling them as best as you can.
Practical Ways to Listen
In the book The Ultimate Happiness Prescription, Deepok Chopra outlines ways to listen to what your body is telling you.
“Feel what you feel. Don’t talk yourself into denial.
Accept what you feel. Don’t judge what’s actually there.
Be open to your body. It’s always speaking. Be willing to listen.
Trust your body. Every cell is on your side, which means you have hundreds of billions of allies.
Value spontaneity. Emotions change, cells change, the brain changes. Don’t be the policeman who stops the river of change by blocking it with frozen, fixed beliefs.
Enjoy what your body wants to do. Bodies like to rest, but they also like to be active. Bodies like different kinds of food that are eaten with enjoyment. Bodies like sex and pleasure in general.”
Chopra (2009) continues by offering words and thoughts that can increase body awareness:
1. I will make choices to maximize the energy in my body. My body is my connection to the infinite supply of energy in the universe. If am feeling lack of energy in any way, it means that I am resisting the flow of this infinite supply. I will ask my body what it needs and will sincerely follow its advice. The ideal state is to experience such lightness that I do not feel bounded by my body. It and the world are one.
2. Before I act on any emotion, I will consult my heart. My heart is a reliable guide when I trust it. It monitors the emotions of others around me. This helps me experience empathy, compassion and love. The heart is the seat of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence allows me to get in touch with my deepest self. It nurtures all relationships by reminding me to see myself in the other.
3. Lightness of being in my body will be my indicator of happiness. If I feel heavy or dull in my body, I will pay attention because these feelings are signs that I am inertia and the dreariness of habit over the potential that every moment has for freshness and new life(NOTE: does this mean sense? he is the dreariness of habit?). The best way to replenish my body is to give it what it needs most, whether it’s sleep, rest, life-giving nourishment, the joy of movement or communion with nature.
Examples from a Book
To learn more about the mind body connection, I recommend When the Body Says No: Understanding the Stress-Disease Connection by Gabor Mate, MD. This doctor kept noticing a connection between the personal lives of his patients and the diseases that they dealt with. He decided to document these situations and share his findings with others so that more people might be able to heal their whole bodies instead of continuing to deal with health issues that were stemming from un-resolved issues in their life. I love the book’s real-life stories of people who wouldn’t say no to others or things that they should be saying no to, so their body said no for them, which then manifested in disease. This book really opened my eyes to how much I ignore my body’s signals and how unhealthy this is.
Let’s Do It!
I am ready to practice these things more in my life so that I can be more happy and effective. How about you?
I hope we can all be more like children and listen to our bodies and keep life more simple, healthy, and pleasant!
Check out the other lessons I have learned from my children.