Listen to Your Body

Posted: 18th September 2010

How do you know when you are feeling cold? Silly question? Not so. There are some obvious signs, like having goose bumps and pale skin; but we will normally have reached for an extra layer of clothing long before we get to those stages. We know instinctively because of many minute changes and signals from within our bodies which make us think “I’m cold” but actually describing in words how we know can be difficult.

In the same way, we know when we’re hungry, or thirsty and we know when we feel sick. What about when we’re tired? What signals does the body give us then? Drooping eyelids, heavy limbs, poor concentration, and an overwhelming desire to sit or lie down? Even though some of these are individually very subtle, they add up to a strong sense which we call “tired”.

When our body sends us these “tired” signals it’s trying to say it needs some relaxation time so that it can repair the damage and the wear and tear from our daily lives. How many of us listen to our bodies and how many of us, instead of relaxing, reach for the coffee jar or the sweets, crisps or chocolate because we think they’ll give us a temporary boost to keep us going? I’m not saying that these foods are bad for us, but continually reaching for them to combat feelings of tiredness probably isn’t good.

Someone once said that as a nation we spend all our time making money and all of our money saving time. I think we are becoming a very ‘time-poor’ nation and our sense of general well being is suffering as a result.

What do you think might happen if we constantly override our natural mechanisms for repairing and maintaining the body and continue to put ourselves under strain, with little time for relaxation? Stress-related illnesses are at a record high level and recovery can take a long time. It can be hard to see it from inside high pressure situations, where the last thing you probably feel you can do is take time out to relax.

My message to you this week is to try making time in your daily routines for some relaxation, even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time. Take a gentle stroll, play some relaxing music, perhaps go for a massage, or whatever it is that you know will help you feel calmer. Our bodies are actually very good at telling us what they need, all we have to do is listen.



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