Body talk

Sometimes, our bodies tell us loud and clear that there‘s something wrong emotionally - we cry tears when we‘re upset, we can get diarrhoea when we‘re anxious or clench our jaws in frustration or anger. These are pretty easy to spot signs of unease and generally we‘re already aware of how we feel psychologically when these symptoms appear.

If we learn to tune in more often and to look out for more subtle clues, though, we may be able to access far more information about our deeper emotional state. Our bodies give us many messages about how we are but, most of the time, we fail even to acknowledge this information being generated, never mind interpret it and put it to good use.  

It‘s not a complicated thing to do - all it requires is for us to notice; to focus in on our physical being and see how it feels: Is there a tight area? Is something churning? Do we stand awkwardly sometimes? If so, when? If you sit quietly and focus inwards, you can scan through your body and really attend to how it feels. Then you can see what any discomfort means to you. Does it, for instance, bring to mind a person or situation that‘s troubling you? Maybe a churning in the stomach or a tightness in the chest can help you to work out that something is emotionally uncomfortable and that you seek some sort of change. When you have acquired some insight in this way, you are in a position to decide to do something about it and move towards being more emotionally comfortable.

It can be hard to do this alone, especially the first time, so you could try buddying up with someone and taking it in turns. Note that it works best if you keep practising - keep checking in with yourself to see what‘s really going on within. And of course you can do this kind of work with a counsellor if you choose to.

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Frome, Somerset, BA11

Written by Caroline Le Vine

Frome, Somerset, BA11

Scary, isn't it, admitting you need some help and then having to find someone to help you?Making contact with a therapist for the first time is a brave step into the unknown and I welcome and applaud you for getting even this far down the track.  Most don't even make it here.  I very much...

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