What Is Your Body Telling You About Stress In Your Life?
I had a client who used to feel her stomach get tense when somebody asked her to do something that she didn’t want to do. She ignored this often but brought it up in a session about listening to our body. So, she started saying “no” to any opportunity when this happened. No explanation needed, just a kind “No, thank you”.
She did something so smart. She trusted her body to tell her sometimes when she really didn’t want to do something.
Wow. It really helped her decrease her stress. She realized she wasn’t getting engaged and tangled into situations she didn’t want to be in in the first place.
Tanya And The Full Body “Yes!”
I met a girl named Tanya who told me that she decided FINALLY in her 50’s that she doesn’t agree to anything anymore unless “I feel a full body ‘YES!’ to the idea!” She said she figured out that all her life she had been going along with things not even realizing she didn’t want to do stuff. And now she just checks in with her body and if it doesn’t feel all jacked up and ready to commit, it’s a definite “no”.
Hmm…I like that idea. After all, our body sends us clear signals and we women have a habit of just trucking forward no matter what! And we have to fill so many roles it makes sense that we often discount or overlook our bodies’ signals.
Our Bodies Have Energy
When I first start energy talking to a client with my, “Our bodies have energy..” speech, I have seen clients start eyeing me with total disbelief. (“Wackadoo” … I am sure they start thinking, and I don’t blame them.)
Maybe they think I am going to start talking about psychic phenomenon, but I mean it much more simply than that. I mean, when you are really, really pissed, you have energy, right? Or, when you are crying or upset. You feel that energy. When you are madly in love there’s energy, right? Sometimes, that in-love energy is so strong you can’t even sleep!
We can sense energy in others. For example, when someone comes into a room and they are really upset, you can usually tell. It’s that energy they are sending out that you feel.
Getting more in touch with your body’s signals is one way to “read” your energy and listen to it.
This can be helpful in decision making so you make more helpful decisions for yourself. For example, if you get a weird feeling when someone asks you to go with them for a ride, listen to it. Or, when someone asks you to do something you probably don’t want to do, your body will tighten up or get tense somewhere. Pay attention to it!
Would you like to help yourself with reading your body signals? Start here:
- Start paying attention and taking note of body sensations a couple of times a day. Do a check list and run through them.
- When you are really upset or anxious about something, notice what feelings are being brought up in different body parts. Just notice.
- If you notice a consistent connection, like a ball in your stomach, that occurs when you agree to something you don’t want to do, start checking with “it” first. If the ball is there, the answer is “No.”
When I have tension about something I really want to say, but I am not saying it, my calves will ball up. It is ridiculous and painful. But, it is also a very big, helpful red flag for me that there is something important going on that I need to address. Try it for a couple weeks, and let me know what you think!
Cherilynn Veland is a therapist living in Chicago.
She also blogs about home, work, life and love