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Mind-Body Connection: Expansion or Contraction for Decision Making

Do you notice which things give you a feeling of lightness and expansion, and which create feelings of limitation and contraction? And perhaps more importantly, do you pay attention to this?

I can feel these differences acutely in my body if I'm tuned in enough to listen to them. Certain thoughts (about situations, people, places, tasks...) will create a tightness in my stomach and chest, which for me usually indicates fear and resistance. Different thoughts and situations will feel like a more positive, dynamic energy of expansion, calm space and opportunity.

I've recently heard more and more people talk about 'listening to the body' as a way to make decisions and clarify issues when they're feeling stuck.

One way to practice this way of intuitive knowing is through cultivating mind-body connection through conscious breathwork. When I do this type of practice, I start by becoming aware of my breathing: concentrating on my inhales and exhales rather than my thoughts or my external environment.

With my eyes closed, I literally visualise my attention as a white light dropping from my head to my heart, and I try to listen closely to my heartbeat. This took lots of practice, as at first I found it really hard to hear. With perseverance I've found it easier to find.

Once I feel calm and connected, I can start to consciously bring in the ideas and topics I'm searching for clarity on. If the thought of a certain person or project makes me recoil and put up my defences (as I said, usually a tight feeling in my tummy or chest), this is telling me something important. Equally, if the thought of something spreads a smile, or perhaps feels like an exhale or relaxation, this tells me a lot more than my cognitive reasoning can.

sea swimming

You might have to try a few times before you start to notice the subtle cues and changes in your body's instinctive reaction, but now I've learned to do this it feels like a really powerful tool to have. Let me know how you get on in the linked Instagram post, and feel free share any tips or insights you have if you're familiar with this kind of practice.


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