In this information era, we have access to an infinite amount of information and to a plethora of medical specialists… and yet… we live in a world where the incidence of disease and illness is higher than ever before. Something, somewhere, has gone wrong.
Could it be that we have become accustomed to handing personal responsibility to doctors and surgeons and have forgotten how to listen to our own inner guidance.
Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens – Jimi Hendrix
My experience as health and lifestyle coach leads me to believe that we’ve forgotten how to listen to important feedback from our inner guidance systems. Modern living exposes us to many different mediums of information, be it music, podcasts, social media, television, etc. and, although information can be a wonderful thing, too much exposure distracts us from our environment. Even more concerning, it can distract us from our senses – reducing perceptive abilities to listen to your inner voice, and notice subtle changes in your body.
Paying attention and listening to your ‘heart’ is where healthy decisions are made; decisions which are aligned with what’s truly important to you.
Allowing pain to guide you.
You’ve only got to walk down the drug aisle in a supermarket to see how much pain and discomfort people are in. Would society have such an epidemic if we were more perceptive and listened more?
Our society sees pain as an inconvenience; it gets in the way of our day, so we pop a pill to allow us to continue – possibly making the same choices that created the pain in the first place. Could pain, be it physical, mental or emotional be a blessing in disguise? How about seeing pain as a gift to help raise your awareness, drawing your attention inward, not outward – even an opportunity for growth and development?
Don’t cut the feedback loop!
If an engine warning light flashes on your dash whilst driving, do you ignore it, or even worse turn it off? Ignoring warning signals are bad news and it may lead to serious problems down the road; it’s best to pay attention and fix the fault.
This is where medication can be a double-edged sword. Of course there are times where conventional medicine has its place; but more often than not, pain killers, statins, high blood pressure tablets, to name but a few, are treating the symptom of the disease not the cause. This ‘cutting of the wire’ reduces our ability to learn from the lifestyle choices we’re making. Pain, disease or any kind of discomfort is nature’s way of waving a flag to say – “Hey! You! Stop doing that, make better choices!” Once the symptoms are masked, and the feedback loop is cut, you could be heading for a disaster!
For the health of our nation to improve we must start to listen and pay attention to internal and external feedback loops. To help us do this, it’s crucial to turn down the noise and distraction of some aspects of modern living and to focus more on what really matters.
Take a look at some suggestions to help you
I thought it might be helpful to give some common examples. As I’m coming from a holistic viewpoint, let’s split the examples into physical, mental, emotional and spiritual:
Feedback/symptom – fatigue, tiredness
Common choices – drink caffeine, sugar, exercise
Your body’s message to you – Prioritise going to bed earlier, relaxation, improve diet, and drink more water
Feedback/symptom – high blood pressure
Common choices – take medication
Your body’s message to you – Do things that bring joy and happiness, do less (try mind/body exercise, practice mindfulness), eat nourishing food
Feedback/symptom – Being over weight
Common choices – exercise more, go on a diet
Your body’s message to you – work on being more fulfilled and loving yourself, read more on the topic of nutrition
Feedback/symptom – Digestive problems
Common choices – take indigestion tablets
Your body’s message to you – chew your food more, slow down, breathe, drink more water and avoid gluten and dairy.
Feedback/symptom – Anxiety
Common choice – take medication, drink alcohol
Your body’s message to you – Find your purpose, stop ‘doing’ too much, don’t skip meals, get to bed a little earlier, practice being mindful
Feedback/symptom – Busy mind, inability to focus, forgetful
Common choices – Addicted to technology and information
Your body’s message to you – Set aside times of silence, practice meditation, work on setting boundaries and being organised
Feedback/symptom – low self esteem, stomach ache
Common choices – saying yes too much, using external things and others for validation
Your body’s message to you – put you first, set clear boundaries, learn to say no. Find a therapist to work through past trauma
Feedback/symptom – worry, tummy butterflies
Common choices – avoidance, controlling behaviour
Your body’s message to you – Work on being grounded and connected
Feedback/symptom – Addictive and obsessive behaviour
Common choices – doing too much
Your body’s message to you – you need more love and connection
Feedback/symptom – Fear of death
Common choices – panic, controlling behaviour
Your body’s message to you – Work on being present, spend more time in nature
How can I start to become more perceptive and make healthier choices?
As a Health and Lifestyle Coach, my role is to zoom out and take a look at the bigger picture. Clients find it useful to firstly connect with what’s important in their lives; it’s easy to get swept along with just surviving. Once you work out what’s important, it’s much easier to say, “yes” to the lifestyle choices that are aligned with your values and “no” to the choices that are not. You are much less likely to be distracted if you have a clear understanding of what your needs are.
Secondly, most of my clients start to feel more perceptive and empowered when they prioritise times of relaxation and are mindful of the volume of information they are exposed to. It can be as simple as just sitting and doing nothing in between tasks, or driving in silence.
A couple minutes of conscious breathing does wonders to take you out of your mind and connect mind and body; you don’t have to sit in a lotus position for hours to reap the rewards.
Two useful questions to ask yourself:
Try asking yourself two really simple but profound questions, “How do I feel?” and “what do I need right now?” Then it’s just a case of listening and being honest with yourself and, of course, taking action.
“Make peace with silence, and remind yourself that it is in this space that you’ll come to remember your spirit”
Remember, people don’t change things based on what they know; they change things based on what they feel.
HealthTribe provides a bespoke holistic well-being studio in Sevenoaks, Kent, we specialise in lifestyle coaching, personal training and natural therapies. If you could do with some help improving your lifestyle or overcoming a health issue we’d love to help, feel free to get in touch here.
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