How to use BQ to attend to eat well, exercise regularly, get enough sleep and manage your emotions so you can feel calm, energized, stable and resilient.

This episode defines what BQ is and it helps you discover what your own body intelligence score is. It is based on the work of Jim Gavin from Concordia University in Montreal and Margaret Moore in 2016 and it’s something I’ve been studying recently as part of my professional development.

You’ve probably heard of social intelligence – how well you handle social interactions – and emotional intelligence – how well you handle your emotions. 

Body intelligence is therefore how well you manage your body.

Why is it important?

Well, if you have enough BQ, then you will be able to notice and attend to your physical and mental needs.

It nudges you toward vitality, health, and consistent healthy habits. It means you eat healthily, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and manage your emotions so you can feel calm, stable and resilient.

In other words, BQ is the foundation of your wellbeing and your ability to look after yourself properly and adequately in all areas.

The Pillars of BQ

Every time you start a new habit or upgrade an old one, you are using BQ – body intelligence.

Whether it’s exercising more regularly, reframing your inner critic, saying no to the third biscuit or switching off your computer consistently at 5pm, BQ is the basis of these habits.

To be able to make these decisions and perform these actions, you are using the three pillars of BQ.

These are:

  1.     how aware you are of your body (body awareness),
  2.     what you know about your body (body knowledge), and
  3.     what you do for and with your body (body engagement).

To have BQ, you need to have adequate capacity in all of these pillars. They work together, integrating 

As you could imagine, BQ is central to the work of fitness and wellness professionals, as well as to your self-care.

So right now I want to run you through these pillars briefly and then give you the quiz at the end to help you rate your level of BQ.

Before we start, the rating scale that Gavin and Moore assigned to each of these pillars is: 

  1. deficient, which means you lack skill or attention in that area.
  2. sufficient, which means you have adequate skill or attention in that area, and
  3. evolutionary, which means you have a keen awareness, knowledge and practice, working in flow with your body and mind.

Ok, with that in mind, let’s talk about the pillars.

Pillar 1 is Body Awareness

Awareness is about being tuned into your body and its signals. 

If you have high body awareness, it means that you are aware of how and when your body “speaks” to you and what it is telling you – and you listen to it and honour it. 

A lot of people have physical sensations that they ignore and hope will go away. This invariably leads to injury or stress, because we have ignored an important need.

If you have high body awareness, it means that you are aware of how and when your body “speaks” to you and what it is telling you – and you listen to it and honour it. 

Compare that with someone who has high body awareness – they listen to what their body is telling them and they make adjustments in the moment.

For example, you’ve eaten a chocolate biscuit with your cup of tea and you notice it gave you a sugar rush. It doesn’t feel too good. On that basis, you say no to the second biscuit.

Or perhaps you feel a deadline looming at work, so your brain is telling you to ‘push on’ and finish it, even if you have to stay a little late. However, you notice that your neck is sore, your eyes are starting to burn and your brain is feeling a bit fried. 

You park the work for tomorrow and shut your computer off, knowing that you’ll be better off going home now and finalising this when you are fresh and have renewed your energy and resilience. 

As you can see, the greater your body awareness, the more you are in control of bodily outcomes. 

The awareness you need is at two levels – the gross sensations like muscle soreness, and the subtle sensations like the awareness that your energy is flagging.

The skills you need for body awareness are therefore mindfulness, reflection, and also, the ability to experiment and learn from your experiences. 

To rate your body awareness, ask yourself:

  1.   When does my body feel good, and why is that? 
  2.   When does my body feel not so good, and why is that? 
  3.   What are the best and worst I have ever felt physically? How or why did this happen?
  4.   How do I know something is wrong with my body – what are the signals I get? 
  5.   What proportion of the time do I consciously notice and act on those signals?

If you could answer all of these questions clearly and definitively, and if you answered positively to question 5, then your body awareness is probably pretty good.

Right now, give yourself a point for each question you answered immediately, easily and positively.

If you scored 0 – 2, then you are probably deficient in this area.

If you scored 3 – 4, then you are probably sufficient in this area.

If you scored 5, then you are probably evolutionary in this area.

Pillar 2 is Body Knowledge

Body knowledge is partly our knowledge of what to do (e.g. accepted standards for healthy living and a healthy body).

The other part is our intrinsic knowledge of what we as individuals need to do to feel or function better.

How many of us knowingly do things that are unhealthy?

Why do we do this to ourselves?

You (or your client) might say things like, “I know I need to exercise more often, but I never seem to find the time.”

This indicates knowledge of both what to do and what’s stopping you from doing it.

Body knowledge is much like what scientists call “health literacy.”

It includes knowledge of recognised standards, your own personal markers for health such as weight, blood pressure, cholesterol etc, as well as your own knowledge of what your body needs to be healthy, vital, and to engage in healthy habits.

To rate your body knowledge, ask yourself:

  1.   What do I think I have to know about my body to take good care of it?
  2.   What is my pattern of checking in with health professionals for checkups, issues, or concerns?
  3.   What do I know about healthy lifestyle habits?
  4.   What is my personal formula for healthy eating, regular exercise, adequate sleep, sufficient recharge, building energy and mental resilience, and weight management? 
  5.   How healthy is my relationship to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, caffeine, and other addictive substances?

If you could answer all of these questions clearly and definitively, and if you answered positively to question 5, then your body knowledge is probably pretty good.

Right now, give yourself a point for each question you answered immediately, easily and positively.

If you scored 0 – 2, then you are probably deficient in this area.

If you scored 3 – 4, then you are probably sufficient in this area.

If you scored 5, then you are probably evolutionary in this area.

Pillar 3 is Body Engagement

Even when you have adequate or high levels of body awareness and knowledge, engagement may not come easily. 

This is where the rubber hits the road. 

Engagement is about doing the best thing repeatedly until it is a habit that you are tuned into and in flow with. It means you are committed to taking intelligent action based on what you need at this point in your life. 

It’s about how you configure your life so that your body fully supports your work in the world.

Habits are hard to break and build and that is why the industry of professional health and wellness coaching is being developed. 

If you want to make lasting change, you need a solid foundation of self-motivation and self-efficacy so that you can stretch beyond your comfort zone and experimenting with new habits, in a curious and non-judgemental way. 

And, with enough focus and persistence to make change stick.

If you want to form a new habit, you need to do certain things regularly in a way that integrates awareness, knowledge and action. 

To rate your body engagement, ask yourself:

  1.   What habits do you engage in consistently that make your body feel better?
  2.   How do you experiment when you are developing a new habit?
  3.   What works best for you when you are developing a new habit, for example your approach to setting goals and experimenting?
  4.   What life factors help you engage more consistently in a healthy lifestyle?
  5.   What new habits do you want to develop as your next step?

If you could answer all of these questions clearly and definitively, and if you answered positively to question 5, then your body engagement is probably pretty good.

Right now, give yourself a point for each question you answered immediately, easily and positively.

If you scored 0 – 2, then you are probably deficient in this area.

If you scored 3 – 4, then you are probably sufficient in this area.

If you scored 5, then you are probably evolutionary in this area.

Analysing your score

Reflect on what you scored for the Awareness pillar, the Knowledge pillar and the Engagement pillar.

If you are at least sufficient in all three, then you are likely the type of person who can tune in to their needs, knows what to do to meet those needs, and can do that consistently.

If you are deficient in awareness, then thought watching, journaling and mindfulness are three tools you can use to build your awareness. 

You would need to schedule at least one of these in for a few minutes every day or every other day, as a regular practice, to build awareness.

If you are deficient in knowledge, then doing a course, attending a webinar or reflecting on what has worked for you before are three tools you can use to build your knowledge.

Once again, you would need to schedule these activities in to gain knowledge.

If you are deficient in engagement, then getting support and accountability, reflecting on your success and finding ways to get into flow with your wellbeing habits will help you to be more consistent and engaged with those habits.

Working with a health and wellness coach can help you fit new habits into your existing lifestyle, and get the accountability you need to succeed.

Summary

Being consistent with your habits starts with your awareness of what your body is telling you.

It means you will treat yourself with more respect because you’ll be honouring your body’s needs and taking better care of yourself.

Being consistent with your habits starts with your awareness of what your body is telling you. 

Then, if you know what to do and can find a way to enjoy do it consistently, you will raise your BQ and live a more vital, energized, engaged and happy life.

You will build resilience and each day will feel easier.

You will enjoy emotional wellbeing, balance, resilience, energy and joy.

If you need help to find a health and wellness coach to work with, or would like help in a membership setting, visit www.melaniejwhite.com and fill out the contact form. I have access to coaches with specialist skills who may be a good fit for you.

Ready to get the accountability you need to succeed?

Working with a health and wellness coach can help you fit new habits into your existing lifestyle! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

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