The Power of Interoception

Awareness of our internal body and mind
Alison Hall
Alison Hall

Try Freedom Founder and Intuitive Eating Counsellor

The Power of Interoception: Feeling and Responding to Your Emotions


Have you ever felt a sudden surge of anxiety, a pang of hunger, or a deep sense of calm? These emotions and physical sensations are part of your body’s remarkable ability to communicate with you through a phenomenon known as interoception. Interoception is the skill of being able to feel and respond to your feelings, and it plays a significant role in your emotional well-being. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of interoception, exploring what it is, how it works, and its impact on your life.

What is Interoception?

Interoception refers to the internal sense of your body’s physiological state, including sensations such as hunger, thirst, heartbeat, breathing, temperature, and emotional feelings. This innate skill allows you to recognise and interpret the signals your body sends, helping you understand and respond to your needs and emotions.

How Interoception Works

Interoception involves various bodily sensations, and its awareness is closely linked to your nervous system. The process can be broken down into a few key components:

  1. Sensory Receptors:

    The body has a network of sensory receptors that provide information about its internal state. For example, stretch receptors in your stomach signal fullness, while pain receptors alert you to discomfort.
  2. Neural Processing:

    Sensory information is transmitted through the nervous system to your brain, where it is processed and interpreted.
  3. Emotional Awareness:

    Emotions are closely tied to interoception. The physical sensations you experience during different emotions, such as a racing heart during excitement or a sinking feeling in your stomach during anxiety, are part of this awareness.
  4. Decision-Making:

    Interoception plays a crucial role in decision-making. By understanding your internal state, you can make choices that align with your physical and emotional needs.

The Impact of Interoception

  1. Emotional Regulation:

    Interoception is essential for recognising and managing emotions. Being in tune with your bodily sensations can help you respond to emotional states more effectively, reducing stress and anxiety.
  2. Mindfulness:

    Interoception is closely related to mindfulness, the practice of staying present in the moment. Mindfulness encourages you to pay attention to bodily sensations and emotions, fostering self-awareness.
  3. Healthy Eating:

    Paying attention to hunger and fullness cues is a key aspect of interoception. This skill can help you make healthier eating choices and prevent overeating.
  4. Better Physical Health:

    Interoception can also play a role in maintaining physical health. It allows you to notice when something doesn’t feel right in your body, prompting you to seek medical attention when necessary.
  5. Enhanced Empathy:

    Being attuned to your own internal state can also improve your ability to understand and empathise with others. When you’re in touch with your emotions and sensations, you’re more likely to connect with the feelings and needs of those around you.

Developing Your Interoception

Interoception is a skill that can be developed and improved over time. Here are some strategies to enhance your interoceptive awareness:

  1. Practice Mindfulness:

    Engaging in mindfulness meditation can help you become more aware of your bodily sensations and emotions.
  2. Keep a Journal:

    Recording your emotions and physical sensations regularly in a journal can increase your interoceptive awareness.
  3. Focus on Your Breath:

    Pay attention to your breath and how it changes with different emotions. Deep, slow breaths can help regulate emotions.
  4. Eat Mindfully:

    When eating, pay attention to the physical sensations of hunger, fullness, and satisfaction. This can help you develop a healthier relationship with food.
  5. Engage in Physical Activity:

    Exercise, yoga, and other physical activities can improve your interoceptive awareness by making you more attuned to your body’s movements and sensations.


Interoception is a powerful skill that connects you to your body’s physical and emotional states. By learning to recognise and respond to these sensations, you can enhance your emotional well-being, improve your decision-making, and foster better physical health. Developing your interoceptive awareness through mindfulness and self-reflection can lead to a more balanced and fulfilling life. So, next time you feel a strong emotion or bodily sensation, take a moment to listen and respond – your body has valuable information to share.

Help with Interoception and All Other Intuitive Eating Skills 

Contact Alison at Try Freedom

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