We have a “sixth sense” that is the key to our well-being, but only if we listen to it.

(ORDO NEWS) — Most people are familiar with the five senses (touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste), but not everyone knows that we have another one called interoception.

It is a sense of the inner state of our body. It helps us to sense and interpret the internal signals that regulate vital functions in our body such as hunger, thirst, body temperature and heart rate.

Although we don’t pay much attention to it, it is an extremely important feeling as it ensures that everything in the body works optimally.

The sixth sense warns us that our body may be out of balance – for example, by making us reach for a drink when we feel thirsty, or by telling us to take off our sweater when we are too hot.

Interoception is also important for our mental health. This is because it promotes many psychological processes, including decision making, social ability, and emotional well-being.

Impaired interoception has been reported in many mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety.

A better understanding of all the factors that affect interoceptive ability can be important in developing better treatments for many mental illnesses.

Jennifer Murphy, Lecturer in Psychology, Queen’s Holloway University London, and Freya Prentice, PhD student, Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, University of California London.

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