https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/intelligence-flesh – this academic article is an account of how historical thinking about the body and mind has been updated, referencing research experiments testing how people think and behave when they are challenged or supported in their bodily wellbeing.
This shows that in order to think intelligently, creatively, in detail, we need to be feeling well in our bodies: energy, immunity and emotions, for example, all need to be in balance. This balance is necessary because our bodily functional systems are informing our thinking, so if any system is overloaded it will not be contributing and we will be less clear in our cognition; some instances of this are if we are tired, hungry or ill, or if we feel sad, angry or frightened.
The article requires a bit of time to take in, however, it’s a good academic research-based argument that we need to pay our bodies some more heed as vital inputters to our thinking, decisions, beliefs and ideas. Equally, and much more widely accepted is the reality that our thoughts affect our feeling of wellbeing and therefore impact on our bodily health.Therefore, we can help ourselves by recognising negative thoughts which aren’t helping us and many cognition based therapies primarily support this approach. I recognise the importance of both work with thoughts and body experience and expression and both are integral to my therapy work.
What fascinates me from my experience, in line with this article, is that often our bodies can be the origin of our thoughts and ideas, because the impulse might come from a feeling we have or an awareness of a process beginning in our flesh (often called intuition), which is why artists and creative people are increasingly turning to mindful movement and body awareness practices to inform their creativity. It’s also why the sense of ‘interoception’ – internal sense perception – is now recognised as a tool for people who use instinct/intuition to inform their work, for instance hostage negotiators, financial traders and therapists.
Any one of us can develop more awareness of our body’s influence on our thinking and be more empowered, healthy and creative. Often those of us who have experienced and survived extreme symptoms in our bodies will have also had a connected revelation about our lives and purpose. This is why i love my work as a body and movement therapist, supporting people to make the connections with the intelligence in their flesh!
Do contact me if you feel interested by what you have read here. You may wish to explore and become more familiar with your body’s intelligence and the potential meaning for you of any health issues you are experiencing.