Skip to content

The story your body is telling you

Our bodies give us signals. But we don't listen. We're forever distracted, stimulated and craving comfort. We can do better, but it requires creating space.

Budi Voogt
Budi Voogt
2 min read
The story your body is telling you

Your heart beats without a thought.

Your hormones are regulated similarly.

Breathing is natural. Effortless.

And as you read this, your eyes follow this text subconsciously.

Perhaps now consciously.

What wonderful biology - our body. Masterful design. Evolved to do most things we need to survive automatically, while leaving our precious mental energy for the things that require our attention.

It strives for homeostasis, constantly seeking balance. Your hormonal, cardiovascular, immune and nervous system working in harmony to keep you functioning optimally. With increased body temperature comes perspiration, with need for oxygen increased breathing, and so forth.

The limited control that we have over these functions is with intent. It's to save our energy for more important things. However the small adjustments that our body makes to maintain balance often cannot compensate for the massive influence of our choices.

For example, you may be tired and continue to stay up. Or pass the point of diminishing returns, yet keep seeking inputs.

Or you might eat while you're not hungry, or overeat. Out of habit or seeking distraction from a daunting task.

In these situations, your body is sending you signals - yet you may not even hear them. So you act against your nature, disturbing your body's balance. And every time you fail to listen you further desynchronize with the system that's designed to keep you healthy.

I do this in countless silly ways.

The conventional solution to these "bad habits" is to foster discipline and to change the context to avoid temptation. Those are valid approaches, however I find they are superficial.

The more powerful, next level thing to do is to cultivate awareness.

I think the average person, including myself, is uncomfortable with limited inputs. The lack of stimulation is confrontational, as we aren't used to that space. So we crave stimulation, both via information, experiences and excitatory compounds such as caffeine and sugar.

The last months I've been deepening my practice in a variety of ways; meditating more, being mindful in my yoga practice and especially watchful of my breath, and journaling first thing in the morning pre-input.

I've also been tending my digital garden, minimizing the amount of times I check email, business and personal chat throughout the day.

I cut caffeine for a few weeks. Caffeine's particularly insidious because we build tolerance and become desensitized to its effect on our psychology and physiology. For me, being caffeinated makes it harder to be at rest mentally.

All these things are helping me cultivate space between thoughts and activities.

That space is helping me pick up cues from my body and subconscious that help me act in alignment with my nature.

The space is magical.

I wish for you to explore it.

It has this intangible quality best described as emptiness. And when paired with awareness, it allows you to listen more attentively.

I find that as I capture the space, I act more naturally, harmoniously, and life becomes more effortless.

We have access to such wisdom via the stories our bodies tell us.

Yet we've never learned how to listen.

If you liked this essay, consider subscribing to get the next ones.


Related Posts

Members Public

Embracing change

A review of 2023: what another year of investing in public and private markets has taught me about myself.

Embracing change
Members Public

Voluntary confinement

Who is it that you truly are? We are taught to want to become something. To achieve some thing that we can aspire to. A profession or level of accomplishment. When we're young, the ambitions are still unlimited. We want to become astronauts, firefighters and actors. Or idolize