How important is it to know your body?

So freaking important. 

It’s the difference between a lot of physical and emotional pain vs. freedom from symptoms.

The difference between living on auto-pilot and trying to survive the day vs. living with intention.

It’s the balance of taking care of your body and paying attention to symptoms as they arise to ask them what they’re trying to show you.

But when you’ve lived with physical symptoms for most of your life, how do you streamline and dismantle all of the things and the learnings?

For me, pain was a way of life. I was an accident prone child. I was constantly getting injured, feeling anxious, etc. When people would tell me they’d never broken a bone, I didn’t understand how that was possible.

As I’ve grown, I’ve become aware of the fact that there is more to my body than pain. There is also healing. One of the major areas of healing important for my body is hormonal health. If that topic interests you, you can find some resources here.

But there is more to it. Healing your body involves every area of your life – spiritual, mental, physical, emotional.

This can be overwhelming to anyone who has grown up in America – being told that a McDonald’s salad is healthy and that if you work hard enough you’ll get everything you’ve ever wanted.

No offense to hard work or McDonald’s, but healing the body is about taking inventory of habits, choices, beliefs, thoughts, relationships, experiences, patterns.

The body has the ability to heal – I’m not a doctor, but I’m speaking from experience. I want you to feel hope and know that you are not alone.

Where the heck do I even start?

1. Getting to know your body

If you think I’m going to tell you about a fad diet or a workout routine, you’re wrong.

I’m talking about paying more attention. There were points in my life where I felt like I was moving so fast and my body hated me. Come on body, why aren’t you doing what I want you to do? I’m 27 – this shouldn’t be happening.

The truth is: my body was trying, but I wasn’t giving it the fuel or the resources to do that. And I was running myself into the ground trying to prove that I could handle anything and everything.

It took some pretty radical things in my life to even realize I had any power over what was going on with my body, my mind, my soul, my stress, my relationships, etc.

The moment I realized that I could co-create my experience in life was when I started learning from holistic mentors.

Western medicine has its place, but as someone who has experience seeing a lot of doctors, it isn’t the end all be all. Holistic healing has really given me an opportunity to learn, pay attention, and feel a little more in control.

Some local to Buffalo holistic mentors I have are: Erika from Evolve with Erika, Dr. Lori from Naturally Chiropractic, and Cathi Stack from Journey II Health.

2. Looking at the beliefs you cling to

Change is uncomfortable. Even if it’s for the best. When I talk about beliefs, I’m not talking about religion. Sure, that plays a huge role as well, but I’m talking about more subtle things. Do you believe that you’ll never feel better? Do you believe that you aren’t good enough to talk to someone? Do you believe you’re better than everyone ever?

Taking inventory of your beliefs is critical to your health.

For example, one belief that I had for a while that was not serving me was, “Nobody understands me.”

That belief of being misunderstood was with me since the third grade. It was isolating and complicated. But I thought it was the truth.

So here I am at 27 reconizing that that belief is far from fact.

The truth is that I am learning to understand myself. And that is the core of it. If I understand myself and have my own back, then I align with my truth, speak it aloud and other people can say “same girl.”

That’s a big one. Whether it’s a belief that a sub from Subway is healthy or that you aren’t worth of love, I’m here to tell you that beliefs are much more prevelant than facts.

And when we cling to them as truths, we can create problems in our body.

3. Recognizing the connection between our experiences and our body

If someone asked me, “Do you have a body?” I’d roll my eyes and say of course.

But there is a difference between knowing you have a body and feeling a connection to the body.

I can honestly say that it took someone teaching me how to do a body meditation at age 26 to realize there was a massive disconnect between my body and my life.

Sure I felt symptoms, but I didn’t understand that I was completely living most of my life from my head.

Do I want to do this thing? Well, the person will probably get mad if I don’t, so yes. Meanwhile I’m unable to shake an anxious feeling and unaware that it’s tied to that situation.

This is a little hard to explain. Because whether you are connected to your body or aren’t, chances are the only way you’ll resonate with this is if you’ve experienced both and are aware of this.

The thing about symptoms, sickness, injuries, traumas, anxiety: you disconnect from your body because it’s too painful to stay in it. And until you recognize the disconnect, you live in your mind and all of the symptoms get worse until you pay attention again.

Things that have really helped me to pay attention to this disconnect/reconnect: EMDR therapy, yoga, meditation, space to be and not do.

This is far from an overnight solution. It’s a lifetime of being in this body, experiencing and learning and growing. But the more tools you have access to, the higher the chance of you finding peace of mind and balance in life. You aren’t your symptoms – awareness is the first step. Healing is possible.

Looking for more recommendations?

Here are the podcasts I love.

Here are books about trauma healing I love.

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