Our bodies are incredibly intuitive. For the most part, we know exactly what we need to run efficiently. We know we need fruits, vegetables, water, sleep, exercise, and quiet time. We know when we get all of these things we can think clearer, run faster, make better decisions, and feel better overall. But what can happen when we stop listening to our inner signals? If we’re faced with the choice between scrolling through Facebook and getting out for a walk, which is the easier choice to make? Do we put off what we know is good for us simply because it’s easier to do so?
When we take the time to really listen to what our bodies are telling us, we not only become better tuned to our own workings, we become better at recognizing the signals that something is wrong. The ache in our backs might be telling us it’s time to get up out of the chair and stretch a little. Hunger signals, even after we’ve eaten what we think is good for us, might be alerting us to the fact that we really didn’t eat the good stuff after all.
Here’s a story: I was sick a few weeks back. I mean really sick. Down for the count, unable to move, vomiting, nausea in between, the whole bit. So I rested. And rested. And rested some more. My appetite was nonexistent and I fasted for a good 24 hours. The next day, I regained my appetite and started to crave salad. Green, crunchy, cold, delicious salad. So on kale, cucumbers, radishes, red onion, and romaine I feasted. Then, the next day was spinach, spring mix, romaine, red onion, and tomatoes.
My body knew it was missing nutrients, knew where they could be found, and knew recovery would be faster with them. The craving would not be ignored and I listened closely. Then, two days out from the virus’s onset, I was back where I was. Rested, fed, nourished, whole. My body had made a speedy recovery because it was given the tools it needed to make that happen.
As a species, we tend to ignore our own needs for someone else’s. We work late because the boss needs us to. We skip meals because it will take too much time to stop and eat. We rush through fast food drive-throughs because the kids are hungry and we just want the whining to stop. We lose precious sleep because going to bed earlier means missing a favorite program. We overlook a nagging ache until it becomes a raging pain.
Only when we are faced with no choice at all do we start to wonder what we could have done differently. Don’t wait until your body’s signals have gone unanswered for so long that the breakdown process has begun. By then, we’re turning to doctors, medication, or hospital stays.
It’s really quite simple.Your body tells you what it needs all the time, are you listening?