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How To Listen To Your Body's Signals

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How To Listen To Your Body's Signals

Your Body’s Talking. Are You Listening?
Neha  Sangwan M.D.
Neha Sangwan M.D. More by this author
May 11, 2015 at 08:15 AM

I don’t know about you, but for a majority of my life, I treated my body as a vehicle to transport my head. To school. To work. To meetings. To various places where I could analyze data, give advice, and solve problems. I had given my brain so much power that it had become a little dictator. My mind thought it could overrule anything—including my body, stress, fatigue, the need for sleep, or even an extra 10 pounds. Even though I didn’t take care of or listen to my body, when some physical part of me broke down, my mind took over and blamed my body for being weak. Why am I so tired? That’s ridiculous. So what if I didn’t eat breakfast? It’s not that big a deal. Just push through and keep going.

It’s embarrassing to admit, but in the process of becoming a physician, my schooling and my life experience had been all about overriding my body to endure intense training and 36-hour shifts. Somewhere along the way, I had bought into the belief that my mind and body were entities that functioned independent of each other. It took several years of patient care and my body’s shutting down before I changed my mind.

Externally and internally, your body is a finely tuned instrument that allows you to experience the multisensory world. If you listen to your body, you will gain valuable information. So this is where the i-Five Conversation starts.

The i-Five Conversation is the conversation that begins internally and help you get crystal clear about what you want. These “five” key components of clear communication are:
1. Interpreting Your Body
2. Interpreting Your Thoughts
3. Interpreting Your Emotions
4. Interpreting Your Desires
5. Integrating These into Action

You gather data from your body in two ways: your senses pick up information from the outside world, while your physiology send signals about your inside world. When you’re tuned in, what’s happening outside you (changes in your environment or in someone’s tone or body language) will provide clues about your interactions with others. And being aware of what’s happening within you (your physical reactions to those changes) will give you important feedback about your thoughts, emotions, and desires. Tuning in to both external and internal data is critical to create clear communication.

So, if you make the mistake of using your mind to override your body, as I did, you’ll be highly productive—until you burn out. It’s like driving at breakneck speed toward your destination while not noticing that your Check Engine light is on and your gas tank is on Empty. To arrive successfully at your destination, you need to pay attention to the internal condition of your vehicle while paying attention to the external driving conditions. You need to maintain what I call “double vision.”

Double vision in the i-Five Conversation means paying attention to two levels of awareness—in this case, how your body is talking to you and how you’re engaging with somebody else. Without this feedback, you will be at a distinct disadvantage in any conversation. Ignoring your body is the equivalent of slapping duct tape on your car’s Check Engine light. How effective is that? In the short term, you may buy yourself some time, but the problem doesn’t go away. And if you ignore it long enough, it’s likely to result in a catastrophic physical breakdown.

Listening to your body gives you an advantage in conversation because it provides early clues about your responses and reactions. Being conscious of your internal state of being is essential for navigating communication effectively with others. Knowing when you need to ask more questions or want more time are just a few important insights that result from being tuned in to your physiology. Interpreting your body is the first step to understanding yourself and getting clear about how to respond in any situation. To learn more, see my book, TalkRx

About Author
Neha  Sangwan M.D.
CEO and founder of Intuitive Intelligence, is an Internal Medicine physician and corporate communication strategist empowering healthcare practitioners, organizational leaders and corporate employees in their own self-care. Dr. Sangwan is an inter Continue reading