When we think about our senses, we think of sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. We have also talked about the importance of our vestibular (sense of balance) and proprioceptive systems. Believe it or not, we actually have another sense, interoception. Interoception can be broadly defined as the sense of signals originating within the body, and is therefore, critical for our sense of embodiment, motivation and well-being. (1)
So, in short, this is the sense that helps us identify things like when we are hungry, thirsty or go to the toilet. And just like our other senses, our interoceptive sense can be high or low.
What could it look like in our kids if they are hypersensitive to their internal senses? It may be the child that is having trouble concentrating in the class room because they are preoccupied with what is going on inside them. This can lead physical or emotional overreactions due to input from our interoceptive system into our emotional centres of the brain. (2-3)
At the other end of the spectrum, we can see kid that have an under-reactivity to their interoceptive sense, and they do not get the internal information about what is going on in their body. As a result, they may miss the clue to go to the toilet, or going may make them feel unwell so that they do not want to go. This in turn will lead to a child struggling to keep on top of their emotional well-being. (2-3)
If you would like to learn more about thee internal signals or how we help manage these internal signals make an appointment with one of our Drs.
1. Farb N, Daubenmier J, Price CJ, Gard T, Kerr C, Dunn BD, Klein AC, Paulus MP and Mehling WE (2015) Interoception, contemplative practice, and health. Front. Psychol. 6:763.
2. Critchley, H. D., & Garfinkel, S. N. (2017). Interoception and emotion. Current Opinion in Psychology, 17, 7–14.
3. Strigo IA, Craig AD. 2016 Interoception, homeostatic emotions and sympathovagal balance. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 371: 20160010.