What is your relationship with your body like? Is it loving or antagonistic? Do you see yourself on the same side? Or do you believe your body is working against you?
If we’ve experienced some sort of bodily trauma, such as a difficult pregnancy and/or childbirth or surgery and lengthy recovery process or some sort of illness, we might feel betrayed by our bodies. We believe that our body is doing this to us, against our wishes. We view it as unfair and we rail against the unjustness of it.
But what if our minds and our bodies are on the same side, regardless of how it may feel to you right now? Chances are, if you are feeling disconnected from your body and talking about it as if you are separate and at odds with it, you need to heal your relationship with your body in order to reduce your overall suffering.
When you don’t view your body and mind operating as one team, it will have an effect on your overall well-being.
There is no upside to believing that your body is against you. In fact, it is detrimental to your stress levels. You’re creating greater resistance in your body both emotionally and physically. You’re creating greater stress and tension, which makes you feel worse. Emotionally and physically, it’s slowing you down and it’s definitely not moving you forward in a positive way.
In order to start even feeling better, we need to drop the resistance to what we are experiencing in our body. To do this, you must begin to reframe this antagonistic relationship your body.
When we argue with reality – meaning that we believe that what happened, shouldn’t have – we experience a lot of frustration. Maybe you believe that things shouldn’t have occured the way they did, or at all. Or that you shouldn’t be feeling this way now. Somehow something has gone terribly wrong and that it isn’t fair. Perhaps you just want to get back to your “old self” and live the way you use to. Other times, we have a clear vision of the way we should be able to live our lives in the future and be able to pal accordingly. Our lives haven’t turned out the way we thought they should.
However, this line of thinking is causing you greater suffering. It raises your level of frustration. It takes up a lot of mental, emotional and physical energy. Also, when you argue with reality, you will lose every single time. None of this serves you, and it has no upside.
It’s ok to feel frustrated by the situation. It’s ok to grieve because your life is different than you thought it would be. But, the key is processing these emotions and then letting them go. Resisting them or reacting to them, keeps you stuck in a repetitive cycle of pain and frustration.
Acceptance helps you to release the resistance, which will have an immediate effect on your physically and emotionally. It requires a great deal of energy to maintain that resistance. Sometimes just even telling myself to let go and release the resistance has an immediate physical effect on my body.
All of this arguing with reality, this resistance, this stress about what’s going on in your body creates greater physical pain. If you’re read any of Dr. John Sarno’s work, you know he believes that all pain in the body is related to our emotions and to stress and that emotional pain creates physical pain.
He explains there is a pain cycle, whereby the more physical pain you have, the more pain you will create for yourself. You’re perpetuating the cycle by your thinking, so you want to be careful about what you’re focusing on. What you focus on, you will create more of. Therefore, this resistance and antagonistic relationship with your body is creating more stress and more pain for yourself- not just emotionally, but physically as well. Having greater awareness about the story that we’re telling ourselves and then consciously reframing the story we are telling ourselves about it, will help to mitigate some of the pain.
You must stop arguing with reality. Stop telling yourself that it’s not fair, that it shouldn’t have happened, or that it shouldn’t be this way. Acceptance doesn’t mean that you have to now love what happened or think it’s great. But you acknowledge that what has happened, happened and you no longer entertain thoughts that it should be any different that it is.
You have this illness. You had to have that surgery or treatment. Perhaps you cannot do whatever it is in the same way that you did before. Here again, you are consciously dropping that resistance. It will release some of the drag. You do not spend emotional and physical energy on things you cannot change.
Realize that you have far more power than you think. Your thoughts create your emotions and regardless of whether you believe Dr. Sarno’s thesis. There is a mind body connection. On some level your emotional stress and distress is going to cause stress and pain in the body whether it’s 100% or not. There has to be some correlation there. There is a relationship. And so you want to be cognizant of the story that you’re telling yourself, of what you’re thinking and what your overall beliefs are, because they will create your emotions. Your emotions then drive your actions and subsequently create your results.
If you are believing that this shouldn’t be happening, what emotion is that creating for yourself? How does it feel to believe that your body is doing this to you? That it is somehow against you?
What’s the feeling that it’s creating for you in your body? I imagine that it’s not an emotion that is going to move you forward. It’s not going to give you a little bit of relief and ease or peace.
Can you become more aware of what your story is? Is it time to think about changing it? Processing emotions is a very helpful way of managing some of the frustration, anger, sadness and disappointment. It helps to relieve whatever it is that you’re feeling about your situation.
Please don’t misunderstand. Whatever you’re feeling about your situation is valid and completely normal. It is not about being right or wrong. But you just don’t want to stay stuck in it.
If you can process it, which basically means that you sit with it and allow for it, it will move through you and start to dissipate. This will give you some relief. Then you can start to focus on how you do want to feel and the experience that you want to create for yourself going forward. It’s not about just changing the emotion and getting rid of it, and it’s not about making yourself wrong. It’s about accepting it, processing it and moving through it in order to relieve some of your suffering and get you unstuck and moving forward in a more helpful way.
You want to be curious about your thinking and about what’s going on for your body if you’re experiencing something if you’re experiencing additional pain if you’re experiencing changes just be curious about what’s going on.
A client I spoke to recently was frustrated about why she was experiencing additional pain in her body when she had done so much work previously and had had moderate success. But what came out was that she had actually had a few things happen over the past week which were significant events in her life – including adopting a puppy and her husband receiving a serious diagnosis. This had an impact on her emotions and on her stress level. Therefore, she was feeling it in her body and her emotions.
Once she realised this, it brought her some relief. It may seem obvious now what was going on, but when she was in the middle of trying to manage the puppy and support her husband, it didn’t seem so obvious to her then.
By becoming curious and exploring why this might be happening, can bring you some relief. It will help you to understand and it will make sense. This understanding can help you to generate greater compassion and kindness for yourself, which in turn will definitely bring you some emotional and physical relief.
There are a number of activities I recommend to my clients to bring them some relief and relaxation. This includes journaling, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or some sort of exercise, including walking, running, cycling or strength training, if possible. Some of my favourite apps that I use are Headspace and Yoga Studio. You can try Eft tapping, which I highly recommend. I use The Tapping Solution app.
Whatever it is that helps you to process emotions and to take care of yourself will be very helpful. If it’s a nap or ten minutes of mindfulness, it can go a long way, especially doing it on a regular basis. I find if you’re not waiting until you reach a situation where the stress is higher than you’d like or you can manage. It becomes harder to manage if you’ve reached sort of a critical point.
But if you do it on a regular basis it helps to build that resilience. But it’s not too late to start now if you’re already feeling the stress and pain. It’s never too late to start, but the more regularly you can do it, the better. Try doing these activities on a regular basis. Don’t wait until you’re in a state of peak stress.
Asking for and getting support is important. Whether it’s from a trainer, a coach, or a therapist, it can be helpful to get support in processing your emotions and your experience. It will help you to get a little bit of perspective and a little bit of awareness.
Coaching can be extremely helpful, because a coach will help you gain awareness about your habits, your beliefs, and your thoughts. Awareness is always the first step. From there, we process the emotion and help you to decide what changes you might want to make for yourself and your life. It’s about seeing what is serving you and what’s not.
The point is, you don’t have to do this on your own and it can be extremely beneficial to get the right support.
Finally, have compassion and kindness for yourself. Don’t speak to yourself or think thoughts about yourself that you wouldn’t say to someone else. Think of how you would speak to your best friend. Have the same compassion for yourself, especially when you are in pain. Whether it’s emotional pain or physical pain, have that compassion for yourself. Extend the same kindness.
Establish a self-care routine. Whether it’s taking hot showers, getting a massage or lighting candles and listening to relaxing music. Create this process for yourself when you’re in pain. When your situation is particularly challenging, it will help to have a routine that you can go to and practice on a regular basis.
Remember, you and your body are on the same team. You are not disconnected from your body, regardless of how you might currently feel. Your thoughts and the story you tell about your situation and your body in particular will affect how you feel. You have far more power than you think. Be aware of your thoughts and what feelings you are creating in your body about this situation, about your pain, and about your illness. By dropping resistance, reducing some of the stress, processing emotions, getting support and taking care of yourself, will help to move you forward in a positive direction, with less unnecessary pain and suffering. You can start to build that relationship with yourself, and reconnect with your body.
If you’re interested in trying coaching I do offer a private one hour coaching session. Experience being coached so you know what to expect and how I can help. Book your session HERE.
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