The body will give you all the signals you need to get what you want if you know how to listen to it…
Have you ever considered that the knot in your stomach on your drive to work may be a signal that you’re no longer passionate about your job?
Or that a constant flutter in your heart when you are spending time with a new romantic interest means there might be serious long-term possibilities ahead?
Listening to these sensations that arise in your body, and the underlying feelings that they signal, will allow you to tune in to your emotions and the wisdom they are trying to convey.
Imagine that you have arrived at a house for a party. A new friend invited you, and you are eager to get to know this person better to see how this friendship will develop. After spending an hour or so at the party, your new friend has not approached you and your having trouble trying to enter a conversation with them, because they are preoccupied with other people.
Your heart starts to beats faster and faster. Your thoughts pick up speed. You begin to wonder if you misread social cues. You feel trapped. Should you go over and say hello? Is there anyone else to talk to? Should you leave? Is it silly to feel jealous over a new friendship? Does this person not care about you? Feelings of sadness, confusion and disorientation overtake you.
What do you do?
Think of emotion as a combination of three forces that come together at once. This includes your nervous system, your endocrine system, and your environment. Our brain begins to scan our environment to detect facial expressions and body language. We draw upon memories as reference points in order to infer meaning about our current situation based on past experience. Our body facilitates an interconnected series of sensations and thoughts that we call emotions.
This is where “emotional intelligence” and awareness of the body come into play. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand the needs and feelings of oneself and other people, to manage one’s feelings effectively, and respond to others in appropriate ways.
As we increase our awareness of how sensations signal certain thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, we develop emotional intelligence and the ability to work with our mind. As your emotional intelligence increases, you have more freedom to make choices from a grounded and less triggered place.
The primary skill that I encourage my clients to develop in order to increase emotional intelligence is awareness of the body and how certain reactions play out through sensation. This awareness cultivates our ability to live in the present rather than ruminating on events of the past or fears of the future. It is easy to jump to conclusions based upon our interpretations of our experience. Rather than quickly reacting to the situation, we can take a moment to intentionally slow down and fully perceive what’s happening through all of the senses.
Another benefit of emotional intelligence, is an increasing awareness of how our actions and speech impact the world. Like tuning a guitar, you will find yourself more harmonized with your environment and the people around you. You will learn how to speak and behave in ways that are more genuine and clear.
Listening to your body and developing emotional intelligence will increase your ability to achieve your desires, live in a state of balance and have meaningful relationships. This is not a skill set that is generally taught to us or encouraged by society. But some of the best things in life are often things you have to discover on your own.