Befriending our bodies is incredibly hard.
No matter what body story haunts you, this eclectic collection of books which I contributed to (here’s a video I made on the same book I wrote about) will hold some answers, some comfort, some connection and some healing to able to befriend your body.
Jodie Gale, a Sydney-based therapist who works alongside people recovering from trauma, eating disorders and who helps women embrace their wholeness, and who invited us all to contribute to this collection writes:
Do you remember the last time you felt at home in your body?
Increasingly, many of us feel a sense of alienation, disconnection, a lack of safety, and insecurity within our bodies. At the core, this sense of dis-ease can often be the result of early childhood attachment and interpersonal ruptures, emotional neglect and/or trauma. In The Body Keeps the Score – a powerful book for befriending the body, Bessel van der Kolk writes,
“Traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies: The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort. Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs, and, in an attempt to control these processes, they often become expert at ignoring their gut feelings and in numbing awareness of what is played out inside. They learn to hide from their selves.”
This profound sense of disconnection from our deeper selves is the underlying force and a major contributing factor to a myriad of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual disturbances and symptoms, including: addictions, anxiety, depression, food, body and weight concerns, eating disorders, health problems, a lack of self-worth, and relationship issues. Van der Kolk goes on to say…
“…child abuse and neglect is the single most preventable cause of mental illness, the single most common cause of drug and alcohol abuse, and a significant contributor to leading causes of death such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stroke, and suicide.”
In The Body Never Lies, Alice Miller writes,
“Frequently, physical illnesses are the body’s response to permanent disregard of its vital functions. One of our most vital functions is an ability to listen to the true story of our own lives.”
When we don’t listen to the true story of our own lives – via our body, feelings, mind and soul – our deeper self will continue to call us through our symptoms. Our symptoms often seek to be seen and heard until we become conscious, pay attention and take action. One way we can do that, is to befriend our bodies.
Here are 20 powerful books which can help us to deepen our relationship with, and befriend our bodies.
The recommendations here are from psychotherapists and health professionals from around the globe, and who are helping their clients heal the split between soma and soul.