How do you feel lately? Is your body happy with your life, or has it been trying to get your attention?
In our society, we tend to be disconnected from what’s really going on in our bodies, and look to externals factors and influences, such as commercial remedies, to keep us going (often at a very unhealthy pace). Some people go to the doctor and insist on a prescription that will make their symptoms go away. Some people search for the perfect supplement, to give them more energy. Others might ask a “healer” to tell them what this disease or symptom represents (not a good idea, BTW; if you ask me I’ll give you a list of reasons). And frequently, if our body and mind are feeling sluggish, we might decide that we must have some kind of caffeine deficiency, and give our poor tired bodies a hefty kick with some espresso or Red Bull.
Outside input certainly has its place (especially when it comes to going to a health professional), but the most effective, powerful thing you can do, that applies to virtually all health situations, and costs absolutely nothing, is to learn to listen to and respect what your body is trying to tell you.
Our body first whispers to us when something is out of whack and needs to be adjusted. The element of your life that might need adjustment may be your lifestyle, your diet, your schedule, your social circle, your job, the way you spend your free time, on and on goes the list.
After reading that list, you might feel a bit intimidated, but this is really so simple. Without fail, when I ask patients or clients to take a moment and ask themselves what this symptom or illness is resulting from, they almost always have an answer. And you will, too.
In my keynotes and seminars, I often share the story about how earlier this year I had symptoms of what appeared to be Multiple Sclerosis. When I finally snapped out of my worry and self-pity, I realized that I’d forgotten to consider what this might be all about.
It came to me in one word: balance.
I’d let things get way too busy (as I have, again, in the last couple of months), and my body wasn’t going to let me get away with it. When I balanced my life and wellness practices better, the symptoms went away (it’s not a guarantee that this will happen, but we estimate that 90% of illness is stress-related and will respond to related interventions). I’m so grateful that my body doesn’t let me get away with abusing it, or with abusing my own balance and serenity.
Here are some real-life examples of this phenomenon:
• A woman who developed Fibromyalgia (crippling fatigue and body aches) while working an 80-hour-a-week corporate job which involved lots of travel. When she left the job, her symptoms gradually disappeared. When she tried to go back later, doing contract work, her symptoms gradually came back. Now, she has created a new career in an entirely new line of work, a job where she helps other with their lives and health
• For years, another woman suffered from frequent sore throats that no doctor was able to diagnose or treat. When she finally left an abusive situation, the sore throats disappeared.
• A family friend who, during a very stressful time in her life, was diagnosed with incurable, and supposedly genetic, Celiac Disease (severe illness from eating wheat gluten). When that stressful time passed, and she began joyfully working at a vocation which she found deeply meaningful, her condition completely disappeared. She eats wheat with absolutely no problems. As a doctor, this seems medically impossible to me, but she’s a health professional and assures me that this was real.
Now, an important point: these are individual stories, not universal truths. The key is to ask yourself what is really going on, and what you may need to adjust in your life, health, or attitude. Also, listening to your “body language” isn’t a substitute for good medical advice – paying attention to your body’s messages is ideally done in conjunction with consulting a competent health professional.