Outside of the four psychological functions, we need to consider that the body has a kind of intelligence that is worth getting acquainted with.
When I was with my Somatic Experiencing therapist, she pointed out every time I changed positions or when my breathing was altered. She also asked me to locate emotions or discomfort in my body, as well as noticing differences between how the left side of my body felt compared to how the right side felt.
It’s clear to me that the body intelligently reacts to language, thoughts, attitudes, and will betray you when you are out of your depth. A common issue I have noticed in myself is me shaking my head left to right (as if I was saying no) when talking to someone. As soon as I notice this happening, I reconsider what I am saying. It’s as if my body is disagreeing with the words I am using. At other times, I can feel shivers around my skin while hearing other people talk, which makes me pay closer attention to what is being shared.
There are two more centers of the body that should be talked about: the gut and the heart. In my understanding, the gut is responsible for all instinctive decisions, whereas the heart is a mediator between many contradictory impulses.
I have learned to value instinctive reactions more than any intellectual decisions. Thus I never ignore gut instincts when they happen. Similarly, I put a lot of emphasis on observing my heart responses: if I feel my heart sinks down or feels constricted when I approach a topic or an event, I know something is off. On the other hand, if my heart feels like it’s opening or brightening up, I assume that I can safely rely on what is being discerned.
I have gone fairly quickly about all these concepts because I am no expert at this. The main takeaway I would like the reader to keep is that one should include body responses such as gut instincts and heart reactions into their process of conscious discernment. This is what I mean by mind-body-heart negotiation.
If you want to read more about this, I can only recommend a few books.
Anything by Peter A. Levine, the originator of Somatic Experiencing.
Maté, Gabor. When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress (video)
Miller, Alice. The Body Never Lies: The Lingering Effects of Hurtful Parenting
Van der Kolk, Bessel. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma