Updated: Aug 15, 2020
In this month’s Member's blog, we take a look at reconnecting with our bodies with insight from our resident clinical psychologist Dr Ashleigh McLellan on the power of taking time to really connect with our body; while our organisational behaviourist Hilary McLellan discusses the importance of language and developing a strong internal voice.
"When we first come into this world, we experience it through our bodily senses," explains Ashleigh. "We feel and respond to urges, are sensitive to our environment and, most importantly, we feel soothed by touch. We're completely connected with our body. Over time, for most people this feeling changes and the connection to our body isn’t as strong, or it can get ignored. In the world of business, logic has been lifted onto a pedestal, the heart and the gut being left with little space. "
"It's very easy to become disconnected from our body and live almost entirely in our heads. Busy lives can mean that we often fail to even notice what's going on inside us. We are so absorbed in what's going on ‘out there’, in technology, in ‘doing’, always being busy and striving."
"This is not really our fault, it is part of our old brain instinct to get the resources we need. The trouble is modern society has shaped us to think we need so much more than we actually do, and we can forget the need for rest and recuperation. How many of you have become ill when you've been on your leave from work? Maybe you know that your body is telling you to slow down but you feel like you just can't allow it, there's too much to do. "
"Our body carries within it our ‘sixth sense’: interoception. This is the subtle sensory, body-based feelings that give us awareness. So, if we’re disconnected from our body, how are we to know what we feel? And, without knowing what we feel we can’t work out the why. Our body holds more answers than we might realise and we can use it as a guide; this is our inner wisdom. Having a gut feeling about something matters."
"Creative and adaptive leaders use their gut with some of their biggest decisions. They feel it in their body. Intuition isn’t about right brain logic. Solving complex problems require our whole brain. The logic of the left hemisphere and the intuition of the right hemisphere. Reconnecting to our body taps in to our right brain potential.
"So, it’s worth asking yourself. How connected are you to your body? How much do you check in with it? Listen to it? How much are you taking caring of it? Think about how you might improve your connection with your body, how you might reconnect."
"We know being in nature is incredibly restorative and while we highly recommend getting yourself out into nature and doing something good for your body at the same time, we also know that watching our videos of nature has a positive effect. Our ‘Reconnect to your body’ audio will help you go deeper with your exploration of this."
Hilary adds: "During my many years in corporate life, if someone had said I would have benefited by ‘reconnecting to my body’ while I waited to present to a board meeting, I wouldn’t have listened. My mind would have dismissed the fluffy language and I would have chosen to apply skills that I knew I had tried and tested. Familiar and reliable and relied upon by peers and leaders around me. "
"I would have probably have dismissed the language, irritated by what I would have seen as a nice to have but with no place in the ‘real’ world. The business world I was employed in throughout the 80s, 90s, 00s were largely places where you were expected to be strong. Without emotion (good or bad!) IQ, knowing and doing counting as more valuable assets than sensing, feeling or intuition."
"Clients in the corporate setting today still recoil at the idea of using the words kindness, compassion and patience. Language is a large part of culture and it’s important that we understand this as we embark on developing some workplace audios. So how might I – as a layperson – describe what reconnecting to the body is in my working hours? "
"Building our self-awareness starts with being aware of what’s happening in our body. A stomach churn, a heightened heart rate, a dry mouth. All are signs of our body preparing for fight, flight or freeze – survival. Some of that energy is useful to me in my presentation to the board but it is also likely to make me speed up, listen less and ask fewer questions. Not so great if I want to be seen as my best self in that setting! I learned to ‘feel’ my feet on the floor when I presented."
"Practice makes perfect and it’s from these ‘real’ life situations – together with a bit of education – that I decided everyone needed to have the opportunity to train their mind."
We hope you have enjoyed this August offering! Now it's time to choose our 'Reconnect to your body' audio with your choice of nature video.