Listening To Your Body

Tips for Coaching and Self-Mastery

On my morning run, I noticed my knee hurt every time I thought about a specific memory. Granted, I’ve been pushing myself to run further for almost a month now and my knee has been sensitive but this was something else. This was a jab that steadily increased. It happened more than once.

When I became aware of this, I tried redirecting my mind. I didn’t want to stop running and lose momentum so I moved my attention away from the upsetting thought and focused on something in the present moment which was actually quite pleasing. The morning was bright and sunny and I had been feeling strong and optimistic. I had recently made some changes in my routine that made me feel excited again. As I practiced concentrating on these positive feelings and moving my attention away from the lower half of my body, the pain in my knee went away and I was able to continue my run calmly. I didn’t increase my speed because I was still aware my knee was adapting to the extra miles but I did focus on improving my posture and form. In the end, I was able to complete the route successfully.

The body is a phenomenal piece of machinery! It has all these instantaneous feedback loops built in. However, it can be tricky this tuning into the body. How do we know how to respond when we’re growing and trying new things? We all know that growing pains are natural and healthy. Just because we feel pain or discomfort doesn’t mean we should stop what we’re doing, but how much pain should we expect when we’re growing or developing new habits of mind and behavior? How can we manage our growth mindfully so our pain does not hinder our over-all sense of well-being or even worse, turn into injury or long term suffering?

Discomfort and pain are a natural part of growth and development however the type of pain you experience in your body should not be ignored. Pain in the body, such as muscle pain, anxiety or fatigue are opportunities to check in with your approach and your planning. As we grow and develop, time passes, circumstances change and so does our body. There are also shifts in our environment that impact our state of being. Pain is your body’s way of heightening your awareness so that you take the time to adjust accordingly. Your body is a fine tuned instrument and knows exactly what you need to be healthy and successful in the long run.

In my experience, when we learn to listen to our body we can adjust and manage our growth and development more effectively. We can avoid severe injury, switching our goals prematurely or losing the joy of the journey.  

Here are some questions to keep in mind as you grow and move toward Self-Mastery.

  1. What are you thinking about when you begin to feel discomfort, anxiety or strain?
  2. What are some positive thoughts to focus on in the present moment?
  3. What is your body telling you about your speed? Can you decrease your speed or build in small breaks to avoid injury?
  4. How can you modify your routine so that you’re having fun and feel more calm?
  5. How often should you talk with your mentor, coach or friend to get encouragement, clarify your goals or get feedback on your approach?

These are a few examples for how we can listen to our body and respond to it mindfully. Being mindful means we are honoring the present moment as much as the future goal. It means we embrace our body as a phenomenal piece of machinery designed to tell us what we need. Growing pains are inevitable but we can manage our growth and development wisely.


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