If you listen, your body can tell you a lot about you. Your body can tell you how things are going for you now, at this point in time, and can also tell you what you can expect in the future if you continue on your current path. And that's good news! You come fully equipped with your own personal radar system.
The 'bad' news is that this only works if you are, in fact, listening and can understand the language of your body. Then, of course, you need to know what to do with the information received. But you can, I can, we all can, get to know ourselves better and use this more intimate relationship with ourselves to get us to where we want to be: enjoying a healthier, happier life.
Everything that makes up the human body (our physical, mental, emotional, spiritual states) can provide a lot of information about how well one is living life to the fullest. How what we are ingesting is serving (or not serving) this common goal: Like the food we choose to consume or serve to our loved ones; what and how much we are drinking; how, and how often, we are moving our bodies; how we are sleeping; how energetic we feel during the waking hours.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg. I believe that we can hone our internal antennae so well that we can begin to understand how the slightest and seemingly most innocuous daily life decisions affect how we move through our days, and, ultimately, through our lives.
I believe that, if given the insight to this phenomenon and the tools to implement in honing the antennae, we can each get much healthier and much happier, on our own individual terms.
Things I've cultivated to help me in my journey include (the full list is long!):
- Yoga - This really has served me as an entry point for all the other tools I've since cultivated. I view yoga as a state rather than as a thing to do. A philosophy rather than physicality. Yes, I do the physical practice of asanas, but I also turn to other aspects of yoga - the yogic philosophy to life, the focus on witness consciousness, the breath work and meditation.
- Journaling - I've long been resistant to this, not sure how writing down my streaming thoughts could help me. But I started doing it, really more as an experiment than anything else. It has helped me fine-tune my perspective that I am not my thoughts, I am not my emotions…these are just parts of me that, like my physical body, can serve as guides to what is serving me (and not serving me) in living healthier and happier.
- Nutrition - the better I get at discovering what is good for me to eat (meaning, I have more lasting energy, more even temperament, better sleep, and easier weight management), the more sensitive I become to what isn't good for me - and I want that less. I want to nourish myself in ways that serve. For me, this means mostly vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, less dairy and no processed or junk food. If I want sweets or comfort food? I have it. I just make it myself, and make it with healthy ingredients that my body wants, along with the comfort of the dish.
- Sleep - It's always been a biggie for me, needing at least 8 hours of sleep a night. But I now understand that I can use my sleep quality as a 'vital sign' - one that can tell me when something is going on, something that could potentially derail me, by changes in how well I sleep. This tells me I need to take a look at myself, my daily routine, and adjust as needed to return to equilibrium.
Essentially, it's a commitment to what serves and a commitment to steer away from what poisons your system. And you know how - just listen.
For even more tips on how to get better health and need the health care system less, check out: The New Prescription: How to Get the Best Health Care in a Broken System by Dr. Cynthia D. Haines, M.D. (Dr. Cindy Haines) and Eric Metcalf, M.P.H. This is a book about getting what you really want: better health on your own terms. More medical care doesn’t mean better health. Dr. Haines and Metcalf reveal some of the most egregious problems with a medical system gone awry, opening readers’ eyes to how to better navigate the changes underway. Using solid research, insiders’ insights, and patient anecdotes, they offer cost-effective and potentially life-saving ways to get more out of health care while using less of it.
Published On: September 10, 2013