How much are you aware of what you are feeling — both your emotions and your sensations? It seems that much of daily life pulls our focus to thinking and acting. As we lose touch with our feelings and sensations, we are more likely to disconnect from the natural world and soil the planet. As we decrease awareness of our emotional and bodily perceptions, we are more likely to have conflict elevate to aggression and violence. As we reduce how much we feel and sense, we don’t notice the many signals of the toll stress is taking on us.

A good chunk of twelve hours of driving this week were spent listening to Gabor Maté’s When the Body Says No. Aside from the title perhaps reproducing dualism, the book embraces the notion that healing is about wholeness and its core argument is that many diseases are the result, at least in part, of repressed emotions and emotional influences on wellbeing. I found myself doing a lot of head nodding as Maté did a very thorough job of documenting the evidence for how life experiences and emotional factors contribute to many particular maladies. Looking from biopsychosocial and psycho-neuro-immuno-endocrine perspectives, we see that attunement with parents and healthy emotional expression are essential for our health.

Wouldn’t you rather perceive the more subtle signs of stress than have to wait for a full-blown disease to provide your wake-up call? In addition to providing greater effectiveness and performance, somatic practices increase your daily awareness of feeling and sensation. When you dial in to your moods and the enormous information from “gut reactions” and intuition, you can awaken and shift your being and acting rather than hitting the snooze bar.

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