Interoceptive Awareness in Infancy
Interoceptive awareness is often found to be lacking in people with a wide range of mental health diagnoses, perhaps on account of the links between interoceptive awareness and our emotions.
Interoceptive awareness describes a lived sense of our bodies from the inside. It includes an awareness of our internal, physiological processes including heartrate, respiration (breathing) rate, body temperature, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, feelings of malaise and so on.
Interoceptive awareness is often found to be lacking in people with a wide range of mental health diagnoses, perhaps on account of the links between interoceptive awareness and our emotions. Emotions use the body as their stage and each of the aforementioned physiological processes alert us to the presence of various emotions in the body; i.e. increased heart rate may indicate feelings of anger, excitement or fear. Mental health struggles are often rooted, to some degree, in denied and repressed emotions. As we ignore and push down our emotions, we also ignore and push down our interoceptive awareness and can become cut off from the lived sensations of our bodies in the process.
A return to our emotions, therefore, necessitates a return to the internal processes of our physical organism, which is something the practice of yoga can support us with beautifully. In this post, we shall take a brief look at interoceptive awareness in relation to childhood attachment; a secure attachment to our primary caregiver enables us to more readily recognise, embrace and respond usefully to our emotions.
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