“Symptoms are not enemies to be destroyed, but sacred messengers who encourage us to take better care of ourselves”

Long title, right?

I keep seeing this meme on social media and today, I took the time to really think it through.

So many of us experience something bad happening with our health and we instantly think about a quick fix: an over the counter medication, a quick trip to the doc, maybe even popping a vitamin.

I think it’s easy to think about our bodies “letting us down” or deteriorating without realizing that there are many things that we can do, naturally, to turn our downward trending health outcomes around. 

This way of thinking can lead us to consider our bodies as our partners in our health and not our enemies.

Women, when you think of the way your body looks, do you instantly beat yourself up and perhaps even feel let down by your body or do you consider that your outward presentation might be a wakeup call to change things up?

Men, do you consider diminishing strength or sexual performance just a symptom of aging or have you stopped to ponder that there ARE things you can do to slow down the effects of advancing years?

I just spent some extended time with family members, and it was interesting to hear the discussions around health.

Some of our younger family members expressed distress at feeling let down by doctors and pharmaceuticals…felt like they weren’t doing their job in helping their symptoms go away. It didn’t seem to occur to them that their diet, movement, water intake or sleep habits had anything to do with the way they were feeling.

A couple of the men just kind of seemed to think that whatever negative physical experience they were having was simply a fact of life…nothing to be done about it!

And then there were those of us who were engaged in the conversation of “how can I address whatever negative physical experience I am having by changing my habits?”.

Now, I just want to preface this idea by saying “just because you’re open to that conversation, doesn’t mean you’re committing to changing your habits.”

I think it’s important to acknowledge that because I think people get afraid to even LOOK at the correlation because they’re not ready to give up some of their habits or adopt some new ones.

And, that’s okay.

This is a concept I have long tried to instill in my clients. You don’t necessarily need to be ready to make changes to look at the idea of making changes.

I stopped smoking cigarettes on September 19th, 1995. (who’s counting, right?)

At the time, I really didn’t WANT to quit smoking, but I wanted to WANT to quit…

And that was enough. I discovered a program that helped me, did it with a couple of friends and after 25 years, I have not had another cigarette! 

And I just started with the concept of wanting to want to make a change.

I believe that that’s enough…wanting to want to change. We begin to take an idea and bring it into existence. Our reticular activating system (more on that in another blog) goes to work to seek out solutions. There is a big difference between obsessing/bemoaning our situation and just being curious about available solutions.

Sure, it’s easy to think “Hey! Just eat right, exercise, drink enough water and sleep 7-8 hours/night. But, in truth, we ALWAYS have other things going on in our head that can sabotage our best choice making abilities. The current situation in the world, magnifies our saboteurs.

So how do we move forward?

  1. Acknowledge that our bodies are our friends and the symptoms we are having are simply wake up calls.
  1. Get curious about what that might look like for you…what are some simple solutions you could either incorporate right now or start exploring for the future? I like to think about the easiest solutions: sleep sounds great, more water seems easy, adding 10 minutes of yoga to my morning routine…nothing too outrageous.

    The part of our brain called the “amygdala” gets really nervous when we try to make too many big changes to quickly. It’s the ancient part of our brain that kept us alive in the jungle when any big change might have meant danger! We need to sneak up on the amygdala and let it know that we’re keeping things safe.

    One EASY button that Jake and I have been using for 26 years is a plant concentrate that gives us up to 50 different fruits, veggies and berries without having to shop, chop and prepare. The 40+ published studies  make us feel secure in the knowledge that we are improving our nutritional profile with this simple, daily habit.
  1. Keep exploring health related topics that interest you and allow yourself to easily flow into new ways of moving, eating and thinking. We’d be happy to share some of the sources we value most and you’re also welcome to join our health related Facebook Group: Wake Up Your Health!
  1. Lastly…be easy about it! Recognize that we’re all on a journey and that these symptoms we’re having are well-intentioned messengers to help us to wake up to better ways of being.

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