Listening to Your Body

I have always had a difficult time listening to the messages I get from my body. This is common among addicts. We use whether we feel good or not. We use more when we feel bad, sick, lethargic, or stressed out. We use the most when detox starts to hit us and we feel ill. In recovery, even more than a decade later as it is for me, learning to listen to our bodies is an important skill to develop. Doing so can make us healthier and happier in all parts of our lives.

Somatic psychology suggests that our life experience is written into our very tissues and part of overcoming past trauma is to move and care for the body. What are some things you can do to feel better when you’re feeling down, working through a particularly difficult issue in psychotherapy, or just need some stress relief? Consider these options:

  1. Yoga – Yoga helps relieve stress and improve health by engaging the body’s tissues and energetic pathways. A restorative yoga class, for example, focuses on breathing and uses very gentle movements, able to be done by most people, to restore the body’s vitality. Iyengar yoga uses blocks, blankets, and other tools to help individuals get into positions and hold them, thereby engaging the body’s energetic systems. These activities help the body engage its self-healing mechanisms.
  2. Meditation – There is overwhelming evidence that meditation improves brain function. Practice meditation daily for best results.
  3. Listen – Listen to what your body is telling you. If you frequently have stomach upset, headaches, or other aches and pains, this is your body’s way of trying to get your attention. Listen! It may take time and effort to understand the message, but you’ll be much happier avoiding potential problems than treating them. If you must, set boundaries with work and other activities in order to be healthy. Your body will let you know what you can handle. Push yourself, but not to the point of harm.