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Learning to Listen to Your Body

Posted Nov 07 2012 10:02pm

Stretching and Exercising by Petr Kratochvil

Let’s face it; staying healthy isn’t the easiest thing to do in the world.  Finding time to exercise, eat correctly, and still find the time to care for your mental and spiritual needs is a challenge in our fast paced world.  It’s no wonder that so many of us fail to really listen to the three things that can really tell us what we need.  I’m talking about your body, your mind and your spirit.

In the United States, we are taught from an early age that such things as cravings, as desires, as feelings, especially for things involving food, or drink are things that need to be crushed or controlled.  We are trained from an early age that pain should be overlooked and ignored to get to our goal.  Things such as sprains or strains are seen as setbacks, as a sign of weakness. 

The simple fact is that things such as cravings, desires, and pain are ways for your body and mind to let you know that something is needed.  We all hear stories of pregnant women craving odd things such as pickles or ice cream.  They are usually very specific things that the growing life inside them needs to get stronger and healthier.   Whether it’s the extra vitamin C in apple juice, or the increase in vitamin A and minerals found in liver, the baby, and the mother’s body will tell the mother what is needed.

Why would that stop once the baby is born?  Why would it not exist in a woman (or man for that matter) who has never had children?  I’m no doctor, but it seems to me that it would.

So the trick is not to ignore the messages that your body is sending you.  Listen to them.  If a certain muscle in your leg is greeting you in the morning with a sharp stabbing pain before your run, listen.  Something needs to be addressed.  If you find yourself craving a salty snack when you usually favor sweet things, take a moment to consider why.   A common symptom of dehydration in women is a salt craving.  Or you could have a mineral or electrolyte imbalance.  

I’m not saying that you have to answer every craving with the item in question or baby every pain you feel in your body.  If I did that I would eat nothing but chocolate and never get anything done.  What I am saying is that it would serve you well in your busy schedule to take a few moments and actually listen to what your body is saying to you.  Trust me, paying attention now can mean more life later.

About Laura Seeber ( 10 Posts )

Laura Seeber is a geologist, environmental professional, writer, and outdoor and nature enthusiast. Born just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Laura has spent the majority of her life hiking through the forest, descending into caves, climbing over boulders and up cliffs, navigating river rapids, and writing and blogging about her adventures. She currently resides in Illinois and travels country in search of the next great outdoor activity or adventure.

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