Why Embodiment Matters To You
Embodiment may sound like a strange concept that has little relevance to your day to day life but in actual fact it subtly influences most of the actions you take and more importantly it may inhibit the ones that you desperately want to take.
Look closely at the image above and notice the sensations that arise inside your mouth, the subtle muscle contraction, activation of salivary glands etc. You have just experienced an example of embodiment, with zero effort on your part, your body anticipated an experience and acted accordingly as you tapped into one of many neural pathways that exist in your brain. The function of these pathways is automation of actions we repeatedly take to free up resources for other meaningful action.
The downside here is that some of these pathways were created to take care of circumstances that we have long since outgrown, yet they keep running in the background causing us to act in ways that are detrimental to our wellbeing. Think of a time you froze when you really needed to take a stand or lost your temper in spite of your own best intentions to act differently given a certain situation. Habits are so hard to break because they are literally wired into the structures of your brain and peripheral nervous system. This is why the best intentions, mental strategies and 5 point plans fall flat when the pressure mounts.
Identifying an unwanted behaviour and choosing a better suited one is only the first step in kicking a pesky habit. In order to break a habit we have to build a new neural pathway that can stand in place of the current embodied behaviour we no longer value. Success is achieved when the chosen behaviour is practiced repeatedly in low stress situations. In other words, the new behaviour must be embodied in order to be a viable action choice in high stress situations.
A somatic coach is a skilled observer that can reveal your embodied habits and behavioural blindspots. They are trained to assist you in creating embodiment practices that will connect you to your goals so that you can finally kick those pesky habits.