Are You Listening to Your Body?
Can you hear your body? Are you aware of what’s going on with you?
I wanted to write a post on this as I was thinking about my healing journey the other day, and I realised a massive part of my success was learning to tune into my body. To listen to what it is saying. To understand what it is trying to tell me.
A few years ago if I had a headache I would have turned straight to the ibuprofen or paracetamol, without questioning why my head was hurting. But, as I have become more aware of my body I have learned to question symptoms and try to discover the cause.
This is so important because when you think about it, treating the symptom is not effective at all. Let’s use a car as an example, if the oil light came on, putting a plaster over it would cover up the light, but would not resolve the reason why the light came on. The only way to to that would be to check the oil level and fill it up if needed.
Taking painkillers for headaches, migraines and other aches and pains is like sticking a plaster over the oil light. It’s not dealing with the problem, just covering it up.
We need to ask ourselves why?!!
Furthermore, taking too many painkillers can lead to further headaches, as these are substances the body has to detoxify, and one thing this detoxification can cause is.... headaches! Vicious circle?!
Understanding this (and what I had been doing to my body for years) kept me away from painkillers for 2 years. That’s right, I didn’t take any ibuprofen or paracetamol for 2 years after I learnt this about detoxification. I began to question the cause of the pain and worked to treat that.
Support your body
To help me I began to support my body by using natural pain relievers such as drinking fresh ginger tea, eating an anti-inflammatory diet and I also fell in love with heat treatments - hot water bottles, warm baths, cold compresses, ice treatments - they can be very effective if we reach out to them, giving them a chance to work before reaching for the medication.
Have you considered the ways you could support your body with healing?
Your body wants to heal. I love this quote by Anthony William of Medical Medium :
“The human body is forever forgiving. Your body wants to heal. It can heal. Even after years of being ignored, mistreated, or misunderstood, your body will fight for you like nothing else and no one else can. When you tend to it in the right way, your body has the ability to rejuvenate and restore from the most extreme conditions and diseases.”
For me, I have now found a good balance. I try and avoid this as much as possible, but I will take a painkiller as a last resort if I absolutely need to. Only if I have worked to treat the cause of the pain and support my body to the best of my ability but I still find it unbearable.
For example, the other day I had such a terrible pain (period pain) it was making me and my body super tense. When I get tense it leads to big headaches (I have become aware of this). It was bedtime and I made the decision to take ibuprofen because I thought I’d fall asleep in a very tense state which would most likely disturb my sleep (which is very valuable healing time for your body - I will talk about this in another blog post). I would then probably wake up with a headache in the morning. For me, a headache caused by sleep disturbance/tiredness can only be resolved by more rest and sleep... and as I had stuff to do the next day, more resting wasn’t really an option.
The real cause
Being aware of my body, I know how I could have helped the cramping, or reduce it.
While travelling my diet has varied from very clean eating, lots of fresh fruits for most of the day with a meal at a restaurant in the evening, to days when I had a bit of fruit at the start of the day but also included a restaurant cooked lunch, dinner and treat (steamed bun or two!). When travelling it is difficult to control the quality of the food you get at eateries; you are fed more sugar, salt, oil, processed foods and even colourings and preservatives to make the food addicting and to get you coming back!
I’ve felt how this affects my body this trip. Firstly on my cramps this month, and secondly in my skin, my eczema got a lot worse.
But I know how to make this better - eat cleaner and feed myself, and I know these symptoms will go away. I know tablets or creams won’t resolve this. The pain from cramping and the unbearable eczema itching is a part of my body detoxifying what I had been putting in as food.
For me, the need to take painkillers happens very rarely. I go for months and months and months without taking any medication. This works because I am aware of my body, aware of my headache and migraine triggers and take action to prevent them happening.
Do you know your triggers?
Feeling it out
Tuning into my body to understand my headaches, migraines, the odd bout of uncomfortable digestion and now even my eczema, has been one of the mayor keys to healing myself.
If I have pain, or something to resolve I consider what am I feeling? What do I think the cause is? What is irritating my body? What could be out of balance? Is it a certain food? Or the environment I am in? Am I tense or stressed? Have I just done something that didn’t make me feel great? Was that workout too strenuous? Or have I picked up on someone else’s vibes and taken on their energy without meaning to? How can I work with my body to resolve this?
It’s stereotypical but meditation, breathing techniques, and yoga have really helped transform my headaches, my attitude to my body, and how aware I am. It doesn’t happen straight away, as you kind of learn it, but it’s something I recommend everybody invests in because it is so rewarding.
When you quiet your mind and the thoughts that buzz around your head all the time and make space for silence, you begin to notice things you didn’t notice before. You can truly feel and hear your body. Tune in. Be present in the moment that is happening right now.
Take a breath.
Yes right now. Take a deep breath in. Hold it for a couple of seconds. Exhale fully. Let it all out.
Big inhale, take the deepest breath you have all day.
Now exhale. Long and slow, let it all out, empty your lungs, from the bottom to the top.
Now how do you feel? Do you notice anything in your body? About your mind?
This just brought you into the present moment. Did you notice anything that you weren’t aware of before?
How to be more aware
I am so thankful to have gone through this journey, as it has given me an understanding and the skills to help people like you transform their lives too.
Here is a list of questions to help you tune in and pay attention:
What am I feeling?
How does _____ make me feel?
How is my state of mind right now?
How does my body feel?
Why is this happening? What could be the cause of ___________ ?
What is my body trying to tell me?
How does __________ make me feel after eating?
Do I know what my body needs?
Is there anything that is lacking?
Do I need to remove anything to aid my body?
How do I feel in this environment?
Would I feel different if I was rested?
Have you learnt anything new here?