Learning The Language Of Your Body, Part 2
What exactly is the language of your body? What does that really mean?
Our bodies are how we experience life. They are the longest relationship we will ever have. Like every relationship, there has to be communication.
The way our bodies speak is through sensations; it’s how we maintain a sense of well-being.
When we are young, we are very in tune with our bodies & our needs.
As babies, we experience discomfort and we cry. And we continue to cry until the discomfort is resolved – the job of an adult or parental figure, as we are one of the few species that are reliant upon caretakers entirely the day we are born.
As we get older, we develop a better ability to communicate our needs and we slowly begin to learn the differences between the sensations creating the discomfort. That heightened awareness of our own sensations and needs allows us to begin asking for our needs.
It allows us to be potty trained and learn how to control our bowels and bladders. And it allows us to communicate how we feel and have conversations about what that may mean.
As we mature and gain more skills, more awareness, and more complex communication abilities, we develop our own independent ability to take care of ourselves and address our own discomfort.
Sounds beautiful, right?
So what the heck happens that leads to all the issues we have today and warranted an entire blog series?
Well, a lot. We touched on some of those in the first blog, and I’ll highlight some more today. Not just because I’d like to shed light on the “why” for a better understanding of how you might have gotten here, but ALSO because this is where we start. At the beginning. Re-learning (or for some learning for the very first time).
What is the “language of your body”?
The language of your body comes from your sensations (or what you feel) and how you engage with your environment.
Most of us – especially women and especially those with any form of trauma – have walked around ignoring our body’s signals for years, decades, or maybe even most of our lives.
Not because we want to, but because of all the things in our lives that have shaped us and our behaviors.
Perhaps you were taught to swallow your discomfort and override your body’s sensations to avoid an even more negative or threatening experience.
Maybe it was because your discomfort or cries were met with disdain or frustration. Or were ignored.
Often, we learn to override everything in favor of not being a burden, avoiding additional distress, or trying to find ways to be loved.
Can you see where this is going?
Maybe you don’t relate to any of those things. Maybe it was later for you that you started to ignore your body’s sensations. Maybe it was when you learned to diet and ignore your body’s hunger cues. Or when you got into fitness or sports and were taught to train through the pain.
Likely if you’re reading this, there were some key points in your life that led up to this struggle with feeling in-tune with your body.
And they will often continue as a theme in your life until you’re able to shed some light on them and see them for what they were and how they play out in your life now.
(PS, therapy can help here.)
But THIS is why advice of “just listen to your body” has probably not been the most helpful for you.
The language of your body is the signals and cues your body provides, from which you notice and then are able to attach an appropriate need or response to.
It involves multiple skills…
- The ability to feel the signals and be aware of the cues
- The ability & knowledge to interpret what they mean or what needs to be done
- The the ability to do said thing
These signals are ways our bodies are telling us they need some form of nourishment such as rest, food & water, exercise or movement, or attention to potential health issues.
They also give us insight into our internal landscape, emotions, and present state of our overall well-being.
Believe it or not, pain is one of these sensations. Understanding & interpreting pain signals is an extension of these skills. And this is why I’ve created this entire blog series.
A Little Reminder
These are skills that take us years to develop in the first place, which means they can take years to re-develop.
Be patient, and remember that learning happens through experience. You can’t out-think your way to feeling, and there’s no ‘perfect way’ to do this work.
In Part 3, I’ll dive into some basic steps you can do to begin reconnecting with your body, particularly when it comes to movement & fitness.
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jen Hosler.
I’m a bookworm, science nerd, and coach of all things movement (physical therapist and strength & mobility coach). You can catch me sleeping in & having a slow morning, doing CARs & lifting heavy things, or sipping a glass of wine on my time off.
Through a blend of strength & mobility training, I’ll help you master your movement & build a more resilient body that won’t hold you back from all the activities you love doing.
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