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Body language for better health

When we start to listen to our bodies, is there a different story to be heard when it comes to living (and loving) healthy, balanced lives? Ali Roff shares her thoughts…

by Ali Roff

Body language

3 minute read

While January is a time of new beginnings, it is so often shadowed by a hangover of guilt and the repetitive promise of deprivation and punishment in the form of New Year diets and ridiculously unachievable goals. So, this January, I’m taking it one day at a time. My only resolution? To listen differently.

Instead of listening to my mind, I plan to listen to my body. I’ve found, over the past year, that when I begin to quieten my mind and tap into my body, the excuses don’t hold up, and sticking to my health plan is a different story. When I truly listen, my body enjoys the healthy things I do for it, and my mind follows suit.

A mind of its own

It all started with yoga; a great way of nurturing the mind-body connection, which I know is key to creating a healthy, balanced body. When I began to practise yoga – beautiful stretches and blissful breathwork – my mind slowly started to relinquish power and I understood how wonderful it was to be in my body.

I usually hate jogging – my mind nagging me to stop with each stride – but now, I’ll find myself running through the woods, relishing the freedom found in moving faster and faster, suddenly realising that it’s my body that’s in charge – needing this. A few steps behind, my mind will sluggishly admit that it didn’t want to get out in the cold, but now, it’s having a ball.

So, after a well-deserved month of festive indulgence, once I listen, and become aware of what my body is crying out for, in my heart I know I don’t crave the sofa and chocolate any more. I’m longing for colourful vegetables and fresh air. I thirst for movement; the unlocking of limbs and sweat on my skin, rinsing me clean, renewed and revitalised.

And when we move every day, our mental health benefits. Numerous studies prove that depression is alleviated. We become happier. The mind, like a child soothed from a tantrum, begins to realise how amazing the gift of physical exertion is, and we miss its presence if we stop moving. So much so, that charity, Mind, is urging us to reap the mental benefits of getting physical in January with its campaign, RED (Run Every Day). I’ll be taking part, if not by running, then walking, swimming, or dancing in my living room.

When I realign my body and mind, and open myself to listening to what my body needs, I hear the truth – when to rest, when I’m being lazy, when to indulge, and when to fill my tummy with goodness. It’s all about how I feel in my own skin.

Get physical this January

  • Run, walk, swim, do sport, or dance – every day in January
  • Tweet us, share a photo on Instagram or let us know how you’re getting on, via Facebook, using the hashtag #PsychologiesREDteam
  • To find out more, visit runeverydayjanuary.com

Ali's debut book The Wellfulness Project will be published December 26th 2019 by Aster. Follow Ali at @AliRoff and visit her website aliroff.com to find out more about her and her wellness retreats.Image: Laura Doherty

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