Our bodies can help us better understand our feelings than our minds can.
Hi, I’m Nicole C. Ayers, and today I wanna talk about using the body’s wisdom to help us understand our emotional states. So our bodies are incredibly wise. They are constantly sending us signals and messages and information, which can tell us a lot about our emotional state. So the more in tune we get with our bodies, the better we become at making those translations, and then figuring out how we wanna proceed.
So I’ll illustrate what I’m talking about with two personal examples around the emotion of fear. Recently, I went on a white water rafting trip, and we were in the mountains of West Virginia on the Gauley River. And the Upper Gauley River is some huge, huge, huge water. People come from all over the world to raft this river, because it’s a [00:01:00] big deal.
And I kept telling myself that I was scared, but I was gonna be okay. That I wasn’t really as scared as you know I thought I might be. And my mind was just going, oh, you’re gonna be fine. You’ve rafted before. You’ve rafted the Lower Gauley. Everything’s gonna be fine.
But when I turned inward and did a body check-in one day when I was in a movement class, I could feel all this fear just like swirling around my ribcage. And I was like, oh, I’m actually terrified. So even though my mind was saying, “oh, it’s gonna be fine. I’m not really that scared,” my body was reminding me that I actually had a lot of fear around this rafting trip. Would I be safe and would I be able to physically keep up and would I be able to do it?
So having that information helped me approach the trip much differently than if [00:02:00] I had just kept, you know, listening to my mind that was saying, oh, it’s gonna be fine, and just stuffing that fear down. Acknowledging the fear, letting myself feel it, I was able to do some practices that helped me release a lot of it so that I was able to really show up and give my very best efforts when I was actually on the river.
The second instance happened very shortly after that white water rafting trip. We received word that there were some very violent threats being made at my daughter’s school. And it was terrifying. And my mind was, you know, almost in paralysis about how scary this is. I’m terrified. I don’t know what steps to take to make sure my daughter’s safe, to make sure the people at her school are safe.
And while that was what my mind was just screaming at me, I was like, okay, I’m gonna just go to my practices. I’m gonna use my breath. I’m going to get quiet. I’m gonna [00:03:00] do some movement, and check in and see how do I really feel? And what I really felt was a really calm center because even though this terrifying thing was happening, and I was scared of it, I also felt a lot of peace that I knew what was gonna be best for my daughter, which was we made a decision to keep her home. And that gave us just a lot of peace.
So in both those instances, my mind was telling me one thing about how I was feeling around fear, and my body was telling me something really different.
And when it, I was able to really tune into what my body was saying, then I was able to make decisions that felt really aligned and right for me. So don’t be afraid to go a little past what your mind’s saying to check into what your body’s saying,
The way that I like to do that, again, is I get quiet.
So maybe that looks like actual silence. [00:04:00] Maybe that looks like putting on some music that helps you quiet down in your mind. For me, a lot of times, it means I actually have to close my eyes. Closing my eyes is a signal that I am turning inward, for me. So if that feels good, you could close your eyes.
A lot of times it also looks like me doing some sort of gentle movement. Maybe it is Wild Soul Wisdom, a movement practice. Maybe it’s a yoga pose. Maybe it’s just sitting quietly. Excuse me. Maybe it’s taking a walk, in which case my eyes aren’t closed. But I just start to move. I let myself breathe. and just tune in: how do I actually feel?,
And then I just sit with that question and see what comes up. And once I’ve got really the root of how I’m feeling a lot of times, then my mind can go, oh, oh, well then this is the step I wanna take. This is the action I want.
So I’d love to know if you [00:05:00] use body check-ins to really figure out what’s going on with your emotions or if you’re willing to try it and let me know how it goes.
Take good care.