Have you ever been on a team building retreat? Done trust falls and other group exercises? Well, guess what? You can take your very own body on a bonding retreat too! Except instead of trust falls, it's activities like drinking water, and instead of 2 days, it's all day everyday.
5 things you can try today to build more trust with your body:
Don't hold it in. It seems small, but going to the bathroom when your body indicates it's time is a clear way of showing your body you respect its needs.
Drink when you're thirsty, eat when you're hungry. Again, it's about demonstrating that you listen. If you're short on time, it's okay to eat a quick snack. Something is better than nothing when it comes to proving to your body that you can be depended on.
Narrate what's happening. If you're having a negative body image moment, step outside it just enough to explain what's going on. "Ok, it looks like I'm in a hard spot right now with upsetting thoughts about my body. That makes sense given the culture I live in. I probably won't feel exactly this way forever. Now I'm taking a deep breath."
Name 1 thing you appreciate about your body. It could be that you love the whole thing, or that freckle on your toe. Or name something your body allows you to do– like, singing or hugging.
Practice body respect behaviors even when you're not feeling the body love: i.e: "I don't love my body right now, but I still gotta eat. I have some negative body thoughts that are telling me not to eat to try to be smaller, but I know I don't have to listen to them."
All of these strategies will help your body trust you more and more.
But why choose trust? Why does any of this matter?
Because trust leads to more trust*:
If I can be trusted to hear my physical needs, then I can be trusted with my emotional needs
If I can hear my emotional needs, then I can be trusted with my spiritual needs
If I hear my spiritual needs, then there is no limit to the explorations of my inner world
And when there are no limits within, we become super powered*:
Not only flexible and attuned to our inner needs
But able to hear the thrumming and humming of the world around us too
The more we can hear and understand what's going on both inside and out, the more information we can use to make decisions about how to show up for ourselves and for others.
*A few caveats:
1) There is not actually a hierarchy or order of operations when it comes to physical, emotional, and spiritual needs- it's more of an interplay
2) We are not always able to meet all our needs. Our bodies sometimes can't meet our needs either. Being able to hear and name this (or even grieve the unmet need) is an important part of trust.
3) Being super-powered isn't a stagnant experience; all of this is ever evolving.
You get the dance? The more we listen, the more we learn; the more we learn, the more we understand; and the more we understand, the more we can move closer towards the life we most want (for us, and for all people).