Listen to your body

posted in: Mind / Body | 0

Sometimes we end up lost in our heads and our bodies pay the price.  We sit hunched over a computer keyboard, our eyes bugging out looking at a screen all day, and though we know we should pay more attention to what our bodies are telling us we let physical discomfort build up.  Our shoulders tense, our stomach roils, and our lower back hurts from sitting so much.  And even though it’s August, summer is still in full swing, so it’s time to break these naughty little body ignoring habits and make a change for the better.


Taking just a few minutes a few times a day to tune into what your body needs will help you feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically.  Taking time to get up and get out – literally – of your own head and of your chair can do wonders if you can give yourself permission to do it.


Overthinking leads to all kinds of problems.  From excess stress, heightened anxiety, heading down the spiral of all or nothing thinking scenarios, getting lost in our heads can turn negative quickly if we don’t learn to notice when it’s happening.  And because our culture – and especially our work culture – values constant activity, we’re told that it we stop we’ll be judged as lazy, selfish, a poor performer, and worse yet, we fear we’ll be “left behind.”  All these fears end up manifesting in our bodies in things such as high blood pressure, excess weight, low energy, brain fog, discouragement, and even full blown depression.


So this month when you find yourself all up your noggin overthinking something, use the following tips to tune in and see what your body needs:


  1. Notice when you become tense.  Take some deep breaths, shrug your shoulders and drop them three of four times.  Noticing your breathing and taking deep regular, slow breaths is one of the best ways to calm yourself.
  2. Weeble Wobbly your neck.  Our spine moves in six directions so as an extension of that your neck should too.  Turn your head from side to side a few times.  Drop your chin to your chest then look up at the ceiling.  Lastly, lean your head to one side then the other.  This will help relieve tension in both your neck and shoulders.
  3. Take time to leave the desk.  You don’t have to be gone long but try and get away at least once in the morning and once in the afternoon.  If you can, take additional mini breaks of five minutes throughout the day.  Taking breaks can help pull you out of negative thought patterns and get you moving.  Even if you just walk out to your car and back to your desk, move.
  4. Give the peepers a rest.  Remember to give your eyes a break by focusing on something far away a few times a day. suggests the 20-20-20 rule: to prevent eye focus fatigue, take time to look away from your computer screen every 20 minutes and focus on something more than 20 feet away for 20 seconds.  If every 20 minutes is too much, try for once an hour.