Through my experience with infertility, one of the most valuable lessons I have learned, is that your body always knows what it needs. You can read all the books, follow all the diet plans, get advice from the greatest health guru, and do “all the right things”, but not one body is the same. Your body is unique and you ultimately hold the key to all the answers you’ve been searching for.
Your body is your biggest teacher. You just need to listen.
This is a HUGE work in progress for me. I am learning to silence my mind and listen to my intuition, my soul’s desires and body signals. For years, I ignored my internal cues. When my body was aching or in pain from over-exercising, I would continue to push harder. When I was sleep deprived or felt run-down, I ignored the urge to sleep in, because “I had to workout at 4:00 a.m.”. When my stomach growled or I craved a certain food, I ignored my hunger cues, because it wasn’t the exact time to eat or part of my meal plan.
It’s hasn’t been easy. As a “control freak”, I’ve had difficulty listening and connecting with my intuition. My thoughts get in the way, I over analyze, I worry, and I am constantly anxious. The more I practice, the easier it gets.
Here are four ways that have helped me become a better listener:
#1 PAUSE: When we are mindful, we can gain a better understanding for what it is we truly desire in the present moment. We can make better choices for ourselves. For instance, if you are feeling anxious and find yourself face first in a gallon of ice cream to numb out your feelings, you aren’t listening and being present. You are just going to feel worse an hour later. What if instead, you paused. Took a few deep breaths. Wrote down your thoughts. Took your dog for a walk. Dropped down on your kitchen floor into a downward-dog position (YES, I’ve totally done this!) and begun to really listen in on what it is your body is telling you? It’s not always easy to stop yourself in the moment, but the more you practice and just PAUSE, the easier it will become and the happier you will be with your choices. You can then make a mindful decision and give yourself what you really need. What is it that my body is trying to tell me? Do I need some healthy fats, more water, a time out, more relaxation, more social interaction, or a good cry?! You may realize you didn’t need the ice cream after all, you just needed a hug.
#2 Meditate: I’ll admit, I absolutely suck at meditation. What has helped me commit are my weekly yoga classes, which end with a 10-minute meditation or “Shavasana”. I face my palms up towards the sky so that I am open to receive. Often, we are so closed off from feeling, yet our minds are going a mile a minute. To help me calm my mind, I start by repeating an affirmation, desire or wish, over and over in my head, as I focus on slow controlled breathing. Two I use frequently are, “Dear Universe, I am open to receive the blessings intended for me” and “I inhale love and exhale fear”. Meditation has not only allowed me to become more in-tune with my soul’s desires, but has helped ease anxiety.
#3 Be in nature: Go out for a walk to get some fresh air or drive to your favorite spot (mine was always the beach). Watch the waves crash in and out, look up at the trees and pay attention to the sway of the branches, or gaze at the sky and the notice the shapes of the clouds. Being in nature always has a way of bringing me back into the present moment, allows me to be mindful of not only my surroundings, but my desires within. I breathe in the fresh air and begin to visualize what it is I desire (most recently, it’s a big old prego belly). In nature everything seems so simple. So peaceful. So magnificent. Well, so are YOU. You just need to listen.
#4 Journal/Write: Writing in a journal each morning and night allows me to clear my thoughts, instead of keeping them bottled inside. It gives me a sense of clarity, a little sense of peace and a break from my constant racing mind. Writing and blogging has really inspired me and has allowed my creativity to flow, which leads to happier thoughts. I feel myself smiling from the inside out and it makes me excited for the future.
#5 Just BREATHE. Slow deep breaths. When I felt anxious in the past, I used to try to distract myself and stay busy, but now I try to sit with myself. Although I don’t always follow through, when I do sit and breathe, I begin to notice the thoughts that are causing me anxiety. I am given a chance to clear them if they are not serving me any good, and I can listen-in on what I truly need in that moment.
Inhale love, exhale fear.