From adolescent self-deprecation to the effects of neglect due to our careers, we have all being there, feeling that our body is not our friend. As children we instinctively reach into the world with our body, it is a full extension of our curiosity and desire. However, somewhere along the line, we are taught to sit for too long and listen passively. We are told “Take notes! Be still! These are the ways to learn!”
Little by little, we forget that we are a mesh of connection of spirit and body. In our last meeting, the friends in this Happiness Project Group shared how we are greeting our bodies all over again and welcoming them back in this journey to a happier life.
What is in our Bodies? Tension, discomfort, pain, joy, wonder, awe…It stiffens, churns, flutters… The array of emotions is infinite, but we don’t pay full attention. What if we could let go of our stubbornness and really listen?
Go Slow to Go Fast
Many times we are exhausted but stay at our computer, or hungry and just grab a coffee. Other times, adrenaline and cortisol inundate us when we are in Conflict, but we ignore them, at our peril. If we took our time, respected the messages and answered them, the practice would make us experts and our lives would be much easier.
Spirit: The Emotion’s Hub
Science is just starting to grasp what many ancient cultures already knew, that real information is exchanged inside our veins and nerves. And that it happens consciously and unconsciously.
We experience emotions in our bodies in what scientists call “culturally universal bodily sensations”. Check out this map created in a Finnish research study and see if you recognize the reactions.
Familiar, right? Though we may feel these in a passing moment, we usually do not intellectualize the message, but either act on it or memorize it.
We memorize emotions by storing them physically. You know that the positive memory of a grand day will stay in your heart, but the nursing of an old hurt will get stored, too. In this TED talk Neuro-Linguistic Hypnotherapist Danna Pycher talks about Healing Illness with the Unconscious Mind. Give her a few minutes to get into how we process and record memories in our bodies, and how if we do not deal with bad memories, the body creates inflammation which causes illness in the long run. Will make you wonder about your own aches and pains.
Emotions can also move through. Once you identify that your body is guarding fear or anger and it’s unwilling to let it go, be gentle to it. It is only convinced by the mind that retaining those old energies keeps you safe. But you know better, so go down to those deep dark waters and set them free. Its different for everyone, you might need to cry, to write, to talk, (read our Forgiveness post to help you out) but specially, with all this knowledge you now have of your body, don’t forget to move! The healing you need might happen exponentially faster if while you run, dance, or do sports, you consciously put the intention of moving out negative emotions that no longer serve you.
Actively create emotion. In yoga, and many spiritual practices, the body is used as a conduit for energy to go from the external postures to the internal transformation. I know I feel more powerful, though relaxed, in the warrior stance. If you smile, your brain will reward you. Check out our Confidence summary for other tips.
Body: Our Reality Co-creator
Move On– Dance, creative movement, authentic movement, voice improvisation…These are all self-discovery forms we suggest to unblock the flow of your own light, to reveal the layers of emotion you did not know were there. If we are receptive, we find that physical impulse and momentum can liberate mental potential and help us launch it. Remember what a great dance teacher told me: Moving is Thinking!
Diet and Lifestyle – Health starts with what we eat, but what is good for my body might create an imbalance in yours. Systems like the ancient Indian Ayurveda, include not only preventative diet for particular body types, but also therapies if there is already disease. The Paleo Diet and Lifestyle encourages us to eat and move like our ancestors. No gyms, just functional and instinctive moving, every day.
Mindfulness in the Machine –No, the Biohacking trend is no sci-fi. People are experimenting with modifications to make them more productive, smarter, more energized, and is slowly creeping up to mainstream culture. Not surprising, we manage what we measure. At the Slush Startup conference in Helsinki, there was a whole track called the Next 100 Years of Your Life, showcasing healthcare and wellbeing companies. I give a shout out to companies like Beddit and Clue, who helps us biohack our sleep and fertility. At the moment, I am even trying some sleep hacks myself on a friend’s recommendation, with the Black Bee and the 4-7-8 Breathing techniques.
We may spend most of our lives ignoring our body, or worse, pushing it into extreme pressures. We might think “my body is not letting me thrive, it’s not fulfilling my expectations”. Our fundamentally wrong assumption is that the body is just a vehicle for the mind. But the most wholesome way to learn is to do. When we tinker, reach out, pace, or stretch, the body might release what is unstuck and the lesson will be gained.
Wasn’t it your body who signaled you about that gorgeous human being who is now your sweetheart? , or saved you from that dead-end job? , or warned you about that abusive relationship? So, we challenge you to take your body seriously and return to its love, by bonding with it, in silence and without judgment.
On a personal level, I want to compel you to stop thinking that all you need is a strong mind, or a strong spirit, to succeed and be happy. Your body is every bit as important. It has wisdom to give you. Join me in two simple resolutions: First, stop a few times a day and check-in with your body, where is the tension? What does it carry you to do? And second: Take a moment, to breathe!
Welcome your shares and comments!