Living a healthy and mindful lifestyle requires feeling connected to your body. It indeed often tells us when we need to slow down and take time for ourselves. However, so many people lose that connection because they aren’t tuned into how they are feeling physically and what it means. In this post, I’m going to walk you through how we lose that connection, and the steps we can take to reconnect with our body.
How Do We Lose Connection?
So often we’re told that being “busy” is the way to be successful. However, round-the-clock hustling never allows us to relax and reflect. Today, we live in a society that is always connected – our phones are always in our hands and our minds are occupied with what we see on social media and other sources. By doing so, our minds are never quiet and we have to deal with constant distraction. And because of this, we tend to prioritize thinking and doing over feeling and being. Mental overstimulation can lead to our bodies being overlooked, but having a true mind-body connection will help us flourish and feel whole.
What Happens When We Lose Connection
Many issues can arise when we lose connection with our bodies – the most impactful of which is losing the ability to recognize and understand our body’s signals. Sometimes you’ll notice that your body retaliates in a way designed to regain your attention and care. This is often in the form of illness or pain. I want you to really think about that for a second. Your body is so desperate for your attention that it manifests issues that otherwise would not be there. Your body needs your care this badly. We cannot live only concerned with our minds – we need a healthy interaction between both to live healthfully and peacefully.
So What Do We Do Now?
If you’re feeling as though you’re no longer connected to your body, there are steps that you can take. I am going to provide you with seven steps that you can take to rebuild and strengthen that connection. When starting this process, please try to make sure that you’re fully committed. I’m telling you, it is SO important and will literally change your life.
Get Back to Basics :
I bet, like me, you tend to overlook the primal human needs more often that you’re willing to admit it – water, food, and sleep. Sounds so simple, right? These building blocks are the foundation upon which we build everything else. Ensuring that we are caring for our bodies by providing these most basic needs will make a huge difference in our connection
Food. The current culture around food isn’t actually healthy for our bodies – we are constantly forced to see information about dieting and restriction in order to make our bodies look a certain way. We are also told we need to keep busy, which leads to eating on-the-go rather than taking the time to eat mindfully. Lately, I’ve been really focusing on slowing down when I consume my meals. I really take the time, sometimes even without distraction, to enjoy the food in front of me and really think about how I am fueling my body.
Water. Water is a BIG one. I think sometimes we forget that our bodies consist of 70% water. Seventy Percent! If we’re not properly hydrated, our bodies cannot function efficiently. And unfortunately, you will feel the effects of dehydration quite quickly if you don’t give your body this most basic need. If you are like me, you may find it hard to consume at least the minimum recommended ounces per day. You need to put a bit more effort and intention into it, so get a water bottle (my favorite is the Larq Self-Purifying water bottle) and track your water intake – I promise it will be worth it!
Sleep. Sleep is another basic need that is often so easily pushed aside due to our overly busy lifestyles. But running on empty isn’t a sustainable practice, and WILL lead to exhaustion and burn out. Allowing yourself to sleep should be non-negotiable. For example, don’t set an alarm clock when you’re able to, which will allow your body to wake up naturally and give you an idea of the amount of sleep you need to function at your best.
Focus on Your Breathing :
Breath is sometimes painted as the bridge between the mind and the body. Our bodies breathe without requiring conscious thought, which is amazing. However, try to be mindful of your breath because it is such a vital body function. We live in a culture filled with stress and anxiety, which can affect our breathing. Tension can lead to more shallow breath, so we need to consciously focus on breathing deeply and fully. Fill your lungs and focus on how good that feels. Meditation is a practice that can help as it is often centered around breathing techniques. But if meditation isn’t your thing, try this simple exercise: take a few minutes to sit quietly and feel the sensations in your body. Focus on relaxing your muscles. Drop your shoulders and roll them forward and backward. Relax your neck and roll your head in a circle. Focus on your breathing. Doesn’t it feel good?
Use Your Senses :
All five of our senses are a gift that we tend to take for granted. Our sight is often overstimulated by staring at screens all day, so it is interesting to try to focus on the others. Use your sense of hearing by listening to calming sounds and music that help you de-stress. Celebrate your sense of touch. For example, give yourself a massage while putting on your daily moisturizer. The sense of touch can be very grounding and helpful in reconnecting with your body. Use your sense of smell by experiencing the fresh scent of flowers or enjoying an aromatherapy candle. Finally, use your sense of taste. Be mindful about how you experience this sense. Try new recipes or order from a different restaurant. Having all of these experiences makes us present in the moment and how we feel within our own bodies. It’s a wonderful practice to adopt.
Practice Proper Posture :
It seems that chronic back and neck pain has become an accepted part of daily life for many people. After feeling those tensions for a long time, it’s easy to start to ignore. However, failing to correct chronic pain isn’t listening to your body. In an effort to reconnect, we can take the time to focus on how your body is feeling and be mindful. Stretching and yoga are wonderful ways to release muscle tension and feel connected to your body. If you’d like some yoga inspiration, I personally love following Yoga With Adriene on Youtube. Many great resources are available online, don’t be afraid to explore! I know many of us sit during the day for work, so I challenge you to change your position regularly. Stand, sit, and even lie down! All are equally important.
Also, don’t forget to be aware of your spinal alignment. Strong core muscles and proper posture are super beneficial to having a healthy, correctly aligned body. If you’re struggling with correcting these issues, seeking treatment from a professional such as an osteopath can help.
Move Your Body :
I know that everyone is busy, but I want to stress the importance of being active and moving your body every. single. day. Seriously! I don’t know if there’s a better way to reconnect with your body than to be physically active. Sitting is not good for us if we do it all day every day. Finding 30 minutes in your day to complete this key step is crucial, and you’ll feel SO much better afterwards! Being active is not only good for your physical health, but your mental health too. Don’t feel like you have to go to the gym or slave away on the treadmill either – dance, practice yoga, go for a walk, or swim! Any activity that feels good for you and your body is perfect.
Be Aware of Stress Storage Points :
We all hold stress in different parts of our body. It’s inevitable! We have a lot going on in our lives, and stress is a part of that. In an effort to reconnect with your body, try to be aware of where your personal stress storage points are. Everyone holds stress in different areas. It may be in your shoulders, or your neck, or your jaw. Being mindful of these stress points helps to increase body awareness. To reconnect with your body, you have to be aware of your body! Try to focus on relieving the tension you feel once you’re mindfully aware of where you keep stress. Your body will feel much more comfortable if you’re able to do so.
Get a Special Body Treatment :
Ok, this one has to be my favorite one! Take some time for yourself and book some sort of special body treatment. Yes, you deserve it! And I can think of worse things than spending the afternoon getting pampered, right? There are so many options to choose from, so make sure to pick something that feels amazing and grounding. Everyone’s body needs a little TLC from time to time, and I guarantee you won’t regret it. It feels good to take care of yourself. Invest in the care your body receives, and it will be much easier to reconnect.
Here are a few of my favorite treatments:
Lymphatic drainage massage
Full body massage
Treating yourself to these things might not happen all the time, but even every so often will be very beneficial. In fact, it will be very beneficial. Make sure that you get some special treatment at least once in a while and your body will thank you. You’re worth it, after all.
Thank Your Body :
Now that we’ve learned about seven keys to reconnect with your body, let’s take some time to think about all of the amazing things our bodies do for us. Every day your body works ceaselessly to keep you alive. How amazing is that? We don’t even have to think about every little thing that goes on inside us. From breaking down food, to adapting to our activities, to regulating our emotions, our bodies carry us through a lot. So, in my opinion, our bodies deserve our awareness, attention, and respect.
Just remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to reconnecting with your body. It may take some trial and error to find what works for you. One key might help, or you might need to find your best personal combination. Don’t get frustrated when trying to figure it out – it’s a journey! Once you take the time to learn how to listen to your body, you’ll realize that it’s been telling you what it needs all along. Thank your body, today and every day.