News – Interoception

Interoception is a sense that provides information about the internal condition of our body—how our body is feeling on the inside. Interoception allows us to experience many body
sensations such as a growling stomach, dry mouth, tense muscles or racing heart. Awareness of these body sensations enables us to experience essential emotions such as hunger,
fullness, thirst, pain, body temperature, need for the bathroom, relaxation, anxiety, sadness, frustration and safety. At the most basic level, Interoception allows us to answer the
question, “how do I feel?” in any given moment. Interoception also helps us manage the way we feel, by prompting us to take action based on the body signals we notice. This system is
very important for self-regulation. (Kelly Mahler 2019)

Possible presenting difficulties:
• Not recognising own emotions in self
• Not recognising the need to use the
toilet until urgent
• Not recognising change in body
temperature, pain or illness
• Over stimulating through physical
• Often complains of aches and pains
• Always feels hungry or thirsty
• Frequently uses the toilet
• Overly dramatic when poorly
• Can not locate area of pain
• Reports feeling sick, but unable to give
any detail of symptoms or location

Compensatory strategy examples:
• Blink the bee app
• Water bottle with marking
• Watch alarm
• Set toileting into routine

Helpful strategies:
• Mindfulness –not suitable for all, may
need guidance and visuals for individual
body parts
• Yoga and meditation
• Don’t tell the child how they feel, help
them learn to experience for themselves
• Label the way your various body parts
feel during daily activities (e.g. “My hand
feels warm when you hold it; My cheek
feels wet when you kiss it; My breathing
feels fast when I run with you.”).
• Encourage your child’s ‘Interoception
Attention’: Encourage your child to
notice how various body parts feel during
daily activities (e.g. “How do your hands
feel when you are holding a glass of ice
water?; How do your eyes feel at
bedtime?; Look at the goose bumps on
your skin; Put your hand on your chest
and feel your heart beating fast.”).

Interoceptive Awareness:

  1. NOTICE body signal 1. Dry Throat/ dry mouth
  2. CONNECT body signal to emotion 2. Thirsty
  3. Urge to act 3.Urge
  4. REGULATE with an action/ behaviour 4. Get a drink
  5. OUTCOME discomfort fades 5. No dry mouth or throat

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