Carried away by our everyday responsibilities, created by society or by ourselves, we are, more or less, becoming ignorant when considering our health.
Sure, we check with the doctor from time to time, browse Google in order to self-diagnose any problem that we encounter, buy meds accordingly.
The thing though that has been overlooked in terms of importance, most of us lack. Simple as it is, yet so powerful if we want to maintain a healthy life.
It’s the communication with our own body. Or, to put it in other words, listening to your body.
And before you ask yourself why you should listen your body, and how to do that, have in mind that you already have the answer.
We never take with ease the idea of counting on feelings. But sometimes these judgments are themselves naive. We rarely listen our bodies, and then pay the price for being so naive.
Listen to your body to know when to stop
I remember last year when I injured my knee, I was too biased and ignorant, not paying attention at what my own body was telling me. The end result – I stopped doing any physical activity for a month, right before I planned to run a 5k race.
And the thing is that usually that is the time when it happens. You are preparing for something, relatively unaware towards what may go wrong, and maybe not even intentionally, stop paying attention to the most important thing – your own body.
We are like that; all of us I guess. Making plans and schedules, never questioning their completion. But somewhere in the middle, right when we are reluctant enough to believe that we can take more than we are currently capable, our body sends us the message, and it usually goes away unattended.
So in order to learn to listen to your body, you must first recognize the signals it is sending.
So by that logic, learning how to listen to your body is entirely dependent on you not feeling well, and realizing that?
It’s more of a comprised understanding that you develop afterwards.
Understanding how to listen to your body, and then setting some limits and boundaries, and being wise enough to respect them.
And while all of this may sound silly, here is a question for you: How many times have you injured yourself, after claiming that you can see it coming?
How many times have you made yourself sick, after saying that you know how to listen to your body?
I know I’ve lost count. I guess you have too. And by that logic, you can assume that we have still much to learn about making that connection with our bodies.
It’s funny that now, at the moment of writing this, I’m not feeling that well, having a mild temperature, sneezing and coughing all day.
I guess the lesson is always learned afterwards. But it doesn’t have to be like that, you see.
Learning to listen to your body, respond to its every signal, and be in sync with it – that’s something that can be done without so much effort.
Listening to your body may come handy in many situations
Just think about times when you were feeling cold, but still didn’t put on your jacket; when you decided to drink that one more glass of booze, even though you were already noticing the effects of alcohol through your system; the decision to run that last mile, even though feeling pain in the knee.
We are, at least many of us, easily impressed by what we do in a given moment. Therefore, it’s hard to give up no matter how many reasons of common sense there are.
Over time we got complacent with the belief that nothing bad can happen to us, so we decided to put all those signals our body is sending to us along with the reasons of common sense – reasons that can be easily denied when the time comes.
Hence, there is a big surprise when something does go wrong, and we are unsure what happened, not knowing where to put the guilt.
Over time it becomes quite obvious that if someone is guilty at all, it’s us.
So in order to restore the balance we must learn to make that connection with our own inner voice and learn how to recognize the signals by listening to our body.
How to listen to your body? – Just form a habit
My theory behind many aspects of life is that habit builds excellence through improvement. Gradual improvement, to be exact.
So in that fashion, listening to your body can be an easy task, and even perfected through an act of habit.
What this actually means translated into practice?
It’s quite easy, you see.
You must learn how to react on signals your body is sending, that you ignored most of the time.
- For starters, know when to take a rest. Giving yourself a rest, no matter long or short, you are making sure to refresh your body mechanism. Sometimes even a nap can do the trick, or in many situations, just stop what you are doing and relax with whatever comes on mind.
This also means that we must learn to go to bed early if we feel tired, instead of wasting hours in front of the TV or Facebook.
- Know when you are pushing yourself too much. This is crucial in a way. Having enough challenges as it is already, we are even adding more by the day.
Exercising in order to look good, reading late hours in order to learn more about things, doing myriad of things just to be better, to be more. This however takes its turn, and we are faced with the question on whether to stop and rethink, or go head against the wall. I know I choose the second one way too many times.
That’s why, even when you are into the planning stage of a new habit, make sure to access your strengths and weaknesses, and go easy on yourself. I’ve been coaching people for years, recommending them different workout programs to follow, and nine out of ten they are initially disappointed because of the “easy” approach. But once they get going, the chances for quitting are minuscule. So, instead of starting with a loaded bar on a bench press, or High intensity interval training, go and take something like PIYO – a workout that combines aerobic, yoga and Pilates, in order to strengthen your body, tone your muscles, and help you burn fat. Then, once you feel comfortable, you can progress.
- With food becoming more of an addiction it seems like wherever we turn there is something unhealthy to eat. Eat for your health – that’s my advice.
We are all having different challenges and lifestyles in the first place. So choose what it means to eat healthy for you. Your body will guide you through the whole process.
Most important of all, you must know when to stop with consuming food. However, we sometimes eat a lot, only to find minutes later that it was too much.
The reason for this is because the center in the brain responsible for telling when is enough, needs a couple of minutes to gather the information and send it back to the body.
A great way to trick this is to eat slowly, so you can listen to your body when it sends the signal.
- Exercise for good health. Whenever you feel fatigue, understand it as a signal your body is sending that it is time to start getting in some shape. Whenever you feel out of breath doing some minor physical activities, have in mind that things are not going well, and that you must turn a page.
Often times we feel all these signals for ourselves, but for some unexplained reasons we act very little when the time comes.
It’s an act of will that must take place if we want to respond to the signals our body is sending, but by reinforcing it with an act of habit, we are one step closer to understanding the signals our body is sending, learning how to respond to them.
Can you say that you can listen to your body? We will love to hear about some example of yours.