Your body knows before you do
Everything seems to be going fine, yet there's a niggling tension in your shoulders that won't go away. Or there's a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you walk into that room, that you can't explain. Or pins and needles in the palms of your hands. You roll your shoulders around a bit to relax the muscles, you drink a glass of wine to take your mind off the sinking feeling, you ignore the tingling feeling and tell yourself not to be silly.
But what if your body knows more about the situation you are in than you do? What if you listened to the information it is giving you, rather than trying to ignore it, flatten it or treat it as 'just' a physical thing?
Of course your body isn't really a separate thing from you. But sometimes when we can't explain rationally what we think or feel or sense in a situation, we can feel what is going on very clearly in a bodily way.
What if you paid attention to exactly when that niggle happens in your shoulders. Is it when you think your boss is about to shout at you? Maybe you need to look at your work situation rather than spend a fortune on a massage. The sinking feeling in your stomach – is that because you don't actually feel comfortable with the friends you're meeting up with, and are there good reasons for that, which you've been trying to ignore? Maybe that sinking feeling is trying to protect you. And the tingling excitement in the palms of your hands? Maybe something you have been scared of doing, is actually a really good idea?
It's worth 'listening in' to physical sensations as if they were sources of information, trying to bring to our attention something we have not noticed yet. Sometimes a counsellor can help you do this, someone who is used to 'listening in'. But at the end of the day all that's needed is to pay attention. You know more than you think you do.
About the author
Sarah Luczaj is an experienced, registered person-centred counsellor, influenced by focusing. Focusing is a gentle bodily-based technique for helping people make sense of their situations and move forward, when words don't seem enough. She has particular experience with inter-cultural issues, and in addition to her native English works in Polish.
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