Meditate on You: Listening to Your Body

These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them. -Rumi
Gerd Altmann
The body does not lie; however, we may not listen. When I worked as an emergency room nurse, I would care for people that came in with pains and aches that they have avoided for quite some time. Some of those folks would leave with a manageable diagnosis and some would have to be admitted because the disease progressed further than a quick ER visit could address. Regardless of the outcome, the story is usually the same, a pain that started out as more of an irritation or one that wasn't so bad at first grew until it was unbearable. Why do we ignore our bodies?

I am equally guilty. When I was first diagnosed with lower back pain due to some bulging discs, I did not go into the see the doctor until I could not bear it any longer. I had allowed myself to get to the point when it basically hurt to move. I am pretty sure that my body had been communicating to me for a while that something was going on. Now, I listen- to the physical part at least.

When I feel a twinge in my back, I know I need to do some specific exercises, a combination of yoga poses and other body movements that was provided to me by my physical therapist. I pay attention to everything in regards to my back. The slightest wrong turn or even a sneeze can throw me out of wack. So I listen and more than that I address it. I do this to avoid having to take medication such as narcotics because I am aware that I do not do well with them.

The part that we also have to be mindful of is the emotional messages that our body is communicating through the pain. Most people take for granted that emotional stress can manifest itself physically. When we talk about stress and how it can affect our lives,  people take for granted that it starts with our minds, our thinking, and how we emotionally react to stressors. As a society, we tend to ignore or lack awareness as to how those emotions are manifested throughout bodies.
Image by kalhh 
Some people may be aware of the physical symptoms of nervousness and anxiety such as stomach cramps, bowel discomfort, elevated heart rate and/or fast breathing. Anxiety alone has a long list of related disorders that researchers are continuing to explore. Overall emotional issues leading to stress can cause headaches, stomach issues, muscles, and joint pains to name a few.

The only way to properly address these issues is to be mindful of our emotions as it relates to stressors in our lives. We have to decide how we are going to deal with these situations. Remember, stress is inevitable but learning to manage it and using it to propel us forward is the only way we can maintain some control over our lives. Avoid chronic stress and we can avoid some of the illnesses that have been increasingly associated with it.

Start communicating and listening to your body, and take it a step further by doing something about what you learn.

Helpful Articles
Stress Symptoms
The Connections Between Emotional Stress, Trauma and Physical Pain
The Incredible Way Your Emotions Are Causing You Physical Pain
Pain and Your Emotions
Anxiety and Physical Illness


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