As a running therapist I focus on listening to the body. Most of my clients suffer from a lot of stress, burnout complaints or depression. Listening to your body is difficult, but very important. If you do not listen to your body, chances are that you cross your boundaries without being aware of it. But why do we find this so hard and what can we do to improve?

Why is listening to your body so difficult?

Of course, this is different for everybody but there are a number of factors a lot of my clients experience. For example that we are always available and continuously checking our phones. While waiting for the bus, on the toilet or just before going to sleep: you scroll through your phone. This distracts you from your feelings and causes you to be less ‘connected’ with your body. In addition, we often live from appointment to appointment, from deadline to deadline. We do not think about whether we still enjoy what we do and whether something generates energy or costs too much energy. We also find it extremely important to be busy, ‘being busy’ is often equivalent to success Sleeping is also an important factor: if you slept too little, then you automatically get more sensitive to eat and drink substances high in sugars, fats and caffeine, because these give you a kick to feel energetic. It is also more difficult to listen to your body if you sleep too little, because your thoughts shoot in all directions, you feel down and you can not keep your focus. What is the reason for you not to feel in touch with your body anymore?

What can you do?

The solution is to reflect on yourself, but this is can be challenging. 6 tips:

  1. Do nothing for 10 minutes every day next week.


All screens off and no people around you. Then try to become aware of what you feel. You could call it meditation. Difficult? Sure! It will probably take a while to learn this, but give it a chance and do not be too strict for yourself: you fail today? Tomorrow is another day! I myself always take a moment to stop and take a breath after running, to you check in with my body.

  1. Take your body seriously:

Headache, abdominal pain, a high heartbeat, pain in your neck? Pain in your ankle during exercise? Stop! And consider how this pain is caused.

  1. Eat healthy, varied and with attention

Take time for preparing your meals and take time for consuming them. Do not eat your lunch at your desk. Eating healthy is important and it provides energy.

  1. Move regularly and take the time

Go running, walking, cycling! It does not have to take hours, go out for half an hour and be aware of your surroundings and your own body. Preferably leave your music and watch at home. Consider how you feel at the end of the training.

  1. Sleep well and at fixed times

Try to figure out what works for you, keep in mind that you need more sleep in the winter and try to sleep between 7 and 9 hours a night. Try to maintain a fixed sleep rhythm.

  1. Evaluate and reflect

Occasionally look at your lifestyle, what feels good and what does not feel good? Also discuss this with your friends or family, you may come to interesting insights. Or: write it down!

In short: take good care of yourself and take your body seriously. Do you have any tips yourself? Share them below!

Share this post! If this post was insightful for you, share it with your loved ones so that they can better understand what you are going through.
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Running therapist / Work- and Organization psychologist. Founder of Run Free Groningen (link: I use running as a treatment method for depression and burn-out. With my blog I want to inspire you to also exercise, especially for your mental health. I like sports, but also traveling, wine and good food.

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