Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Do you hear your body?

Your body is wise. This is a rather simple idea and one too many of us ignore. The concept is your body knows what it needs and when it needs it. I've heard the idea from several of my teachers and it is a good practice to remember. What does it mean, exactly?

We all know when we are sick. You wake up in the morning and your first thought is "Ugh. I don't feel well." Maybe a sore throat, muscle aches and headache. All too often, too many of us ignore these signs from our body. We press on and do whatever important task is on our list. Often times, rest is the best medicine for most of what ails us. And, water (a headache is an early warning sign for dehydration). If your body doesn't feel well we know we should get some rest and drink some water.

Do we? Sadly, not. During the last several decades, we've been trained not to listen to our own bodies and worse yet, we've learned to mask the messages we receive from our bodies with medications. Knee hurts, take some ibuprofen. Headache, take some ibuprofen. The list goes on and on.

Sure, when we aren't feeling well, all we really want is to feel better. And yes, often the fastest way to feel better is to take some pills. The long term consequences of this pattern can lead to a bigger problem. Sometimes small little pains are our bodies simply telling us to slow down and take a break. If we keep ignoring the signs or masking them through chemicals, our body will continue to send us signals until one of them finally puts us down for the count. Most of us, at one time or another, have been so sick we cannot move and have no choice but to stay in bed. Why would we torture our bodies so much and leave them with little choice than to escalate the problem until we have to listen?

My advice? Take a few moments and listen to your body. Go ahead, do it right now. I'll wait here...

Very good! Now what did your body say? Need some more sleep tonight? Maybe a little stretching to loosen tight muscles? Are you thirsty? Maybe calling an old friend to catch up is just what the body wants.

Each and every sensation your body sends your way is a message. I think it is time we cherish the one and only body we have to take us through this life. Why wouldn't you listen? After all, the body only has so many ways to say ouch.

Gratitude to my teachers. To read more about them, see the links below:
Bob Duggan, Tai Sophia Institute
Joshua Rosenthal, Institute for Integrative Nutrition
Dr. Mark Hyman, The Ultra Wellness Center. Dr. Hyman is credited for "the body only has so many ways to say ouch."

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