How To Listen To Your Body & Like Yourself?
How To Listen To Your Body
Your body is a complex mechanism with a lot of complex needs. Thankfully, your body has ways of telling you what those needs are, if only you learn how to listen and check in with it from time to time. By learning to listen to your body, you can avoid imbalances in some of its basic needs.
Let Your Body Set Its Own Sleep Schedule
We all know what it feels like to be sleepy, but many of us disregard the importance of getting enough sleep. As a result, too many of us are quick to down coffee, soft drinks, or energy drinks because we think that sleep is less important than studying, working, or socializing.
If you feel sleepy, it’s probably because your body needs sleep and you should listen to it to keep functioning properly, even if that means going to bed a little early or even taking a nap.
If you feel sleepy all or most of the time, or if you feel sleepy after sleeping all night, you may want to talk to your doctor. These can be signs of hormonal disorders, mood disorders like depression, or of a sleep disorder like sleep apnea. (Source)
Get Healthy Hydration
Similar to being sleepy, most of us can identify “thirst” but may not address it properly. When you are thirsty, your body is telling you that you are running low on water. Water is needed to build parts of your body, to digest certain nutrients, to remove waste, and to carry out chemical reactions that let your body use energy. Not getting enough water can be bad news.
The problem, however, isn’t always in not drinking enough, but in drinking the wrong things. Coffee, tea, and soft drinks contain caffeine, a drug that tells your body to produce urine. That means that if you’re thirsty and go for a high-caffeine drink, you might be making things worse.
Drugs like caffeine that make your body get rid of water are called diuretics, and alcohol is one too. Those groggy, cramping feelings that you associate with a hangover are the results of dehydration, so if you feel them when you haven’t been drinking, you might just need some water. (Source)
Compromise On Cravings
Cravings are also how our body tells us what we need. If you keep craving fat or sugar on your diet, or if you want to go vegetarian or vegan but your body is screaming “steak,” it might not be because you have low will-power, it might be because your body needs a nutrient that it identifies with those foods.
That doesn’t mean that you should indulge every crave that you have exactly when you have it, however. Some cravings are really just you wanting something because you like it or because your body is used to it, not because it is good for you.
The healthiest way to satisfy cravings is to identify the nutrient that your body needs from what it craves and find that nutrient from a healthier source.
- If your body craves sugar, don’t eat a cupcake, eat an apple.
- If your body craves fat, look for a healthy fat like olive oil or avocados instead of fried foods.
- If your body craves meat, it might really want protein, which can be found in sources like nuts and seeds, or it might really want iron, which can be found in green leafy vegetables.
If you’re worries about your cravings getting the best of you, just make sure that you don’t go over the recommended dietary guidelines for a food group.
If you have cravings that you can’t satisfy in a healthy way – or at all – mention them to your doctor.
How to listen to your body intelligently?
You may have noticed that this article didn’t tell you how much sleep to get, how much water to drink, or what kinds of foods to eat. The fact is, all guidelines are really loose suggestions based on averages. How much of what you need changes based on factors like your age, height and weight, activity level, and genetics. That is one of the reasons why listening to your body is so important.
You might not need as much sleep as is recommended for your age group. You might need more water. You are a unique person with unique needs and listening to your body and mind is the best way to meet those needs.
Do You Like Yourself?
How often do you think, “I wish I could change this about myself,” or “Why can’t I be better at that?” If you are always looking for ways to improve your appearance or personality, better your skills, or perfect yourself, it may be time to ponder how much you actually like yourself.
When you spend the majority of your time thinking about how you “could” be, instead of being happy with the way you currently are, there’s a good chance you are lacking in compassion for yourself. And when you feel this way, it means you are not comfortable with or do not accept yourself as you are. This is, unfortunately, a sign of low self-esteem.
Why It’s Important to Like Yourself
If you have positive self-esteem, that means that you accept yourself, just as you are, not how you “may” be some day. High self-esteem doesn’t mean you can’t be sometimes critical of yourself or that you should never evolve and change.
But, having high self-esteem means you are capable of being happy while also being flawed, and that you recognize that life is about growing and changing, not perfecting oneself.
Self-acceptance is an important part of your mental well-being. It is strongly correlated to self-understanding, being able to empathize with others, and having a strong peace of mind. When you are able to lift the restrictions, you place on the love you have for yourself, you can accept yourself for who you are, flaws and all. (Source)
When you cannot accept yourself and no longer like yourself, you are more likely to feel chronically anxious. You are also more likely to worry about your shortcomings, to avoid circumstances that may reveal your perceived shortfalls, or to shy away from relationships.
Liking yourself means you don’t spend too much time ruminating on your mistakes or failures, which means you can bounce back more easily when faced with obstacles. You accept that we all have strengths and weaknesses, and you aredoing your best to be the best person you know how to be.
Where Does Self-Hate Come From?
Whether you call it self-hatred or self-loathing, when you don’t like yourself, it has a powerful influence on your mental and emotional health. But where do these feeling come from? From early on, we are taught what to value and believe in our lives. When we grasp, at a young age, onto a notion that we are unworthy of love or happiness, this often leads to feelings of self-loathing later in life. (Source)
Those early experiences act much like a boulder does when it rolls down a hill. They pick up steam along the way, gathering up more “evidence” of your shortcomings or unworthiness, solidifying in your mind the reasons why you shouldn’t accept or like yourself all that much. And over time, it becomes harder to shake those off, as the boulder has grown too large to move on your own.
Learning to Like Yourself
If you want to learn to accept yourself for who you are, you have to earn your respect. You must embody your values and beliefs, living a life that exemplifies the characteristics you most value on the inside. Your self-esteem is founded upon your internal qualities and traits, not what’s on the outside. Focus on developing this, and the rest will fall into place.
Treat others well, too. Care for others, and you will soon notice that you feel better about yourself. When you focus on the needs of others, you start to also listen to the fundamental needs of yourself.
Learning to like yourself is about developing acceptance. And when you accept who you are, you will open the door to possibilities that only high self-esteem and self-love can unlock. You are a unique person with unique needs and listening to your body and mind is the best way to meet those needs.
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