Episode 10: Interoception and connecting with your body with Dr. Cynthia Price
Most of us would agree that the body and the mind are connected but many of us are not necessarily aware of this connection in the moment. The ability to attend to the internal experience of your body is called interoception and this is the research focus of todays guest Dr Cynthia Price. In her work, helping people reconnect with their bodies and teaching them sustained awareness of chosen regions, she has seen big changes take place. In this episode we learn how developing the ability to go into your internal experience and rest in your body can give rise to both insight and relief.
Main topic notes
- What is interoception? [02:05]
- Why is body awareness important? [04:54]
- Is the connection to our body something we might never have learned or something we disconnect from? [06:33]
- What is usually the cause of disconnecting? [07:55]
- Bodily disconnection and trauma [09:03]
- The body as a place for information [11:30]
- Co-regulation [13:42]
- Different components of interoception [15:26]
- The importance of finding your starting point [17:46]
- How to evaluate your own level of bodily awareness [19:52]
- A check-in vs sustained attention [22:08]
- An example of therapeutic body awareness [26:20]
- Insight through interoception [28:30]
- How to choose which region to focus on [32:00]
- How can we help children maintain and develop this skill? [40:28]
Price CJ, Weng HY. Facilitating Adaptive Emotion Processing and Somatic Reappraisal via Sustained Mindful Interoceptive Attention. Front Psychol. 2021 Sep 8;12:578827. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.578827. PMID: 34566738; PMCID: PMC8457046.
- Interoception is the processing of sensory information in the body. It is our capacity to attend to the internal state of the body or the feeling of touch. The ability to do so is in turn connected to regulation of both the body and our emotional states. When we are more in tune with how our body feels we tend to better understand and deal with triggers and emotional states.
- Some degree of disconnect from the body is adaptive such as when we need to move our focus from physical discomfort to targeted action instead or just to get along with our day in spite of feeling a certain way or experiencing mild pain. It is when this adaptive coping mechanism lasts beyond when it’s needed and becomes an automatic response that we see the negative effects of it.
- Co-regulation is how the emotional and physical state of one person can be sensed by another so they move toward a similar state. This can be very useful when trying to calm down a young child by holding them close and being calm and loving.
- An accessible way to practice body awareness is to focus on the breath. This is a sensation that is always present and fairly easy to feel but any part of the body can be the focus. With practice we can become aware of smaller and smaller sensations and sustain that awareness for increasingly longer periods of time. And gradually we can start to explore the information that lies hidden within our own body
- Please remember, if you have previous trauma it is always advised to seek professional help in dealing with that trauma.