I used to be one of the most logical people I knew, and proud of it.
As someone who was both praised and teased for being “that brainy kid” all throughout school, I internalized that to mean my mind was my most valuable and reliable resource.
I thought it was silly to believe things without indisputable proof. I never even considered options that weren’t practical or logical. And I stuffed down my emotions and gut feelings when they went counter to what I wanted to believe.
Several years later, I hardly even recognize that old version of myself, but I clearly see what caused her to place such a high value on her logical mind.
Our modern culture has become obsessed with the mind, intelligence, and logical thinking.
We want a 3-step process, a thorough pros/cons list, statistical data, a logical explanation, and a linear plan of action that leads to predictable success.
And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting those things, the problem is that we’ve come to value logic over all other forms of information gathering and decision making.
Logic is one great tool for navigating the world, but it’s not the only one … and it’s not even the most powerful one.
Your greatest source of untapped wisdom is something you have constant access to, if you’ll allow it: your physical body.
YOUR MIND IS INCREDIBLY SMART, BUT YOUR BODY IS WISE
Your physical body has a depth of wisdom that your mind can’t even fully comprehend.
It’s constantly picking up on subtle cues from the world around you — things that your conscious mind is totally unaware of — and trying to communicate them to you in the only way it can: physical sensations and feelings.
That’s why you can feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up in fear, even before you consciously know what you’re scared of.
It’s why people say things like, “That place has great energy,” or “I just had a bad gut feeling about it,” or “My whole body lit up when I saw that person.”
Unfortunately, many of us tend to ignore or downplay these messages because they make zero sense to your logical brain. But that doesn’t make them any less valid.
The body’s wisdom is just as important as the mind’s intelligence, and it’s constantly trying to guide you toward greater levels of ease, fulfillment, health, passion, and joy.
BALANCING THE INTELLIGENCE OF YOUR MIND WITH THE WISDOM OF YOUR BODY
Imagine your mind as an amazing, intricate, super evolved computing machine vs. your body, which is a highly sensitive, perfectly calibrated compass pointing you toward health, joy, and peace.
You’ll want to use your mind for things like …
- Solving a logistical problem at work,
- Planning a trip or event,
- Organizing or coordinating projects,
- Or learning a new process or skill.
On the other hand, when it comes to deeper, more emotional, purpose-driven situations, you’ll want to use your body’s wisdom. Things like …
- Exploring your passions and interests,
- Seeking deeper fulfillment in your life and work,
- Trying to improve your relationships or connect with new people,
- Looking for creative inspiration,
- Or wanting to determine what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to.
When you try to logic your way through situations that really require your body and intuition’s deeper wisdom, you’ll end up overanalyzing, feeling stuck, and not making the best decision … simply because you’re using the wrong tool.
YOUR BODY WILL NOT BE IGNORED
Your body is communicating with you all day every day, and it’s your job to make sure it’s not just a one-way conversation.
If you continually ignore the messages your body is sending you, that won’t make them go away … they’ll just get louder and more in-your-face until you can’t ignore them anymore.
For example, I have a friend who was having an incredibly stressful year — her workplace was toxic, she was dealing with multiple family health issues, and she had almost no time left to herself — and for nearly that entire year, her body was covered in hives.
As soon as she got a new job and started prioritizing solo recharging time, though, the hives disappeared within days.
I’ve also worked with clients who started feeling less-than-thrilled about their job (or relationship or living situation or anything else), and the longer they stayed in the situation, the more their body rebelled.
Some of them would get frequent migraines, others would develop stomach issues, panic attacks, or even chronic illnesses … all of which would disappear once they got a new job, ended the relationship, changed their living situation, etc.
But you don’t have to wait until your body is in full-blown rebellion mode to listen to it and follow its guidance. If you’re paying attention to the early subtle signs it’s constantly sending you, it won’t need to resort to such uncomfortable measures to get your attention.
HOW TO START LISTENING TO YOUR BODY’S WISDOM
Here are some simple ways to start tuning into your body (at those earlier, more subtle stages) so you can access that deeper intuitive wisdom on a more continual basis:
- Start noticing how your body reacts to people, information, environments, or situations throughout the day. Does your stomach clench up when you have to talk to a particular coworker? Does your body totally relax when you walk into the local coffee shop? Does your heart race excitedly when you hear about a new opportunity? Do you feel a sense of dread or physical tension when someone invites you to an event? These are all valuable messages from your body, and they shouldn’t be ignored!
- Ask your body what it needs/wants in the moment. Before you go out to lunch, ask your body what it wants to eat. Before you get dressed, ask your body what kind of clothing it would like to wear that day. Before you exercise, ask your body what kind of workout it needs rights now. Your body will have a clear answer for you, and it will likely be a bit different every day.
- Whenever you hear other people’s advice, feedback, or opinions, check in with your body before accepting them as true. Your mind tends to get confused and overwhelmed with multiple sources of information, but your body always knows what’s true for you. Don’t just assume someone else’s advice will work for you — see how your body responds to it. Does their advice feel gross and off-putting? Or does their idea make you feel curious and excited? Your gut feeling about it is generally right.
Your mind may be smart, but your body is WISE.
So tell me … do you consider yourself to be a super logical person? Are you willing to start paying attention to your body’s intuitive wisdom? Leave a comment to let me know how this resonates with you!
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IF YOU LIKED THIS, THEN YOU’LL ALSO LOVE …
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Kristen (+ Rachel)
Spot on, Kristen! For the longest time, I’ve viewed my body as separate from “me”, and now I’m realizing my body is me saying the things I can’t admit or don’t want to believe. Great article!
Yes! I know exactly what you mean. Glenn Doyle Melton calls it “voting your body off the island” in favor of your mind, which I’ve totally done. Glad to hear I’m not alone in this and that we’re all figuring out how to listen to our bodies together! 🙂
My body has been screaming at me for years, however I have not been able to figure out what exactly it is so upset about. Today I have had a sick feeling in my stomach since reading an email this morning. I know why I feel sick, but I am at a loss as for how to deal with the situation. I was a licensed massage therapist for 6 years and I am very intune with my body. Often times I can figure out the small things and correct them. It’s the big things that are out of my control that seem to cause my body to retaliate with fury. The battle has been long and this warrior is weary. But, I refuse to surrender and so it continues.
How powerful that you’re so in-tune with your body, Cindy! Although you’re right, it can be frustrating when you KNOW your body is trying to tell you something, and you either don’t know what it’s upset about or how to fix it. Understanding your body’s messages can be just as challenging as communication in your relationships — sometimes there’s miscommunication, or you don’t know how to solve the other person’s problems, and it’s tough.
I went through a similar experience last year of my body screaming at me and not knowing how to fix it, and by far the MOST helpful thing I did for my own healing was to (counterintuitively) stop fighting. I wrote all about it here. Hope that helps a bit.
So true. For more than 25 years, my body & stress response have led me to act decisively. Thank you for telling others this secret.
Amazing that you’ve been so in-tune with your body for over 25 years, Jena! You’re proof that this approach WORKS. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Loved this. I write blogs about inner and outer beauty and this is amazing stuff. I always come away from your writing feeling more peaceful and secure with myself. I used to ignore my body, as you talked about in your blog, but as you said the body just starts talking louder and louder. I believe it was Oprah whom I first heard that the body’s intuition speaks in whispers, but if you don’t listen it will eventually start yelling. Thank you for your wonderful words of wisdom. I loved the tips on how to listen. So helpful!!
If I’m sharing the same wisdom as Oprah, then I know I’m on the right track. 😉
Hearing that our writing brings you a feeling of peace and security is pretty much the best compliment I could get, so thanks for that amazing feedback. And I love that you’re bringing a holistic approach to the beauty conversation — focusing just as much on inner beauty as outer. We need more of that in the world!
Just wanted to say this was such a well-written article, and so on-point. It is wonderful to read things of relevance and at the right time along our self-understanding journeys. As always, thanks Kristen and Rachel!!
Thanks, Marti! 🙂 Glad this showed up at such a synchronous time for you!
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