Right now, without using your hands… can you feel your pulse? Can you feel your heartbeat? That’s interoception. The interoceptive system gives us the ability to feel what is happening inside of our bodies.
SIGNS YOU MIGHT BE HIGHLY SENSITIVE TO INTEROCEPTIVE INPUT
You feel the sensory stimuli of a wide range of emotions intensely
You are very aware of the first physical signs of hunger and thirst
You notice subtle changes in your internal state
You are sensitive to pleasure and pain
You are connected to your sexuality and desire
SIGNS YOU MIGHT BE DISCONNECTED FROM INTEROCEPTIVE INPUT
You feel numb or apathetic
You often can’t tell if you are hungry or thirsty
It’s easy to go all day without thinking about what is happening inside your body
It takes a lot of stimuli to feel pleasure or pain
You are disconnected from your sexuality and desire
REASONS WE BECOME DISCONNECTED FROM INTEROCEPTIVE INPUT
Certain physical and/or mental health conditions.
Sensory overwhelm from other sensory systems.
A learned practice of overriding messages from the interoceptive system by internalizing messages like….
“There is no reason to feel that way.”
“That is not logical.”
“There is no proof that is true.”
“You’re being dramatic.”
“It’s really not a big deal.”
“Why do you care so much?”
“You are hungry again? You just ate!”
“You need to eat everything on your plate even if you are not hungry!”
“You can’t go to the bathroom until the break.”
“You should/shouldn’t be attracted to them.”
SENSORY STRATEGIES TO RECONNECT WITH YOUR SENSE OF INTEROCEPTION
It can be challenging to connect with interoceptive input if the other sensory systems are not addressed first. If your relationship with the external world feels disorganized, it is going to be very challenging to develop a relationship with your inner world. Refer to the pyramid below. Try starting from the bottom of the pyramid and working your way up.
FIRST: Give yourself proprioceptive, vestibular, and/or tactile input that feels good. This might look like going for a walk/run, jumping jacks, a full body shake-out, push-ups, dance, leaning your back against a wall, boxing/kickboxing, a hug, self massage….
NEXT: Seek out visual, auditory, gustatory, and/or olfactory input that feels good in your body. This might look like listening to your favorite song, finding a quiet place in nature, looking at something beautiful, using essential oils, or having a cup of your favorite tea.
FINALLY: If it feels safe, practice reconnecting to your interoceptive system through felt-sense somatic work and sensory-based meditation. If you have a trauma history, work with a professional as you explore your inner landscape.
p.s. I would love to practice yoga with you! Check out my free practice bundles HERE.