Listening to your body sounds like an easy thing to do, but you’d be surprised by how much we actually ignore our bodies. The only reason I can even share this with you is because the more self-work and meditation I engage in, the more I become aware of just how much I ignore my body and its needs. Becoming aware of your body and its functions, listening to its needs and acting upon them is extremely powerful. This sensitivity and awareness will not only help you maintain better health, but it will strengthen your ability to set boundaries for yourself. Why is this?
AWARENESS = SETTING BOUNDARIES FOR YOURSELF
When you listen to your body and tend to its needs you know that you come first, before anyone else. You establish time for yourself and your own boundaries. Whether it is getting to bed early, taking a moment to use the bathroom to properly eliminate toxins in your intestines, or eating at the time that is best for you, you establish the mindset that you come first. This is extremely powerful because rather than giving in to the needs or demands outside of you, you have already trained yourself to put yourself first. What you will come find is that this affirmative self-care mindset will spill into other areas of your life.
The opposite of this can be all too familiar to us. We've all had those moments where we know we are tired but we need to meet a deadline, or we need to attend a birthday party or important social gathering and we don’t go to sleep on time. We lose hours of sleep for the sake of complying to the social needs of those around us and the next day, we suffer. We are tired, stressed out, behind schedule, and we have bags under our eyes. We’ve also been in situations where we find ourselves not using the bathroom when we need to.
We hold it and later forget about it. Hours have gone by and wow, we still haven’t urinated, we still haven’t relieved our bowls. This is extremely unhealthy for our bladder and digestive system!
The opposite also takes place: we feel thirsty, our mouth and throat are dry but we don’t drink water on time because we need to do this thing and the other. Pretty soon we have a headache and have already reached dehydration, which puts large amounts of stress on our bodies. We also find ourselves not eating meals when we feel hungry. Our stomach is burning, we feel lightheaded, fatigued and we know it is time to eat but we are running around, not eating when our body needs it the most.
Although we may not feel the damage right away, over time, ignoring these needs create problems for the body and affect our stamina, strength, metabolism, mood and overall ability to function. Let’s take a look at the some of the common functions of our bodies that we tend to ignore and the costly effects on our system:
One of the greatest rejuvenators for the body is sleep. When your body is deficient of sleep, it goes into a state of stress because your body’s functions are put on high alert. This effects your blood pressure, your heart and increases the level of inflammation in your body. These all pose a greater risk for heart-related conditions in addition to cancer and diabetes.
Getting enough rest therefore, helps to regulate blood pressure, restore the body’s deficiencies in addition to restoring your brain. During the day, the brain is extremely active. Sleep allows your brain to make memories, links and it helps you remember and process things much better.
Sleep also helps the body repair itself. Your body’s cells produce more protein while you are sleeping and these protein molecules form the building blocks for cells to repair damage. Last but not least, getting enough sleep may help prevent depression because your serotonin levels are replenished. Studies have shown that people with serotonin deficiencies are more likely to suffer from depression.
EATING ON TIME
Eating on time, when your digestive fire is on and ready to go is the best thing you can do to keep a healthy metabolism. According to Ayurveda, your digestive fire is strongest around noon and wanes throughout the day. When you eat your largest meal at this time, your body is able to better digest whatever you consume, which allows for better rest, better nutrient absorption and a strengthening of your metabolism. If you do not eat when this digestive fire is strong it can affect your digestion by adding stress on your body and making your body fatigued and lethargic. This can produce a toxic build up known as ama, which in Ayurveda is undigested foods, thoughts and emotions that can lead to disease. When your digestive fire and metabolism is strong you feel light, clear headed and energetic. You feel nourished and strong and ready to go. Eat on time!
An average bladder holds 15 ounces of liquid. Holding your urine can stretch your bladder over time and if you don’t listen to that signal when it arrives, over time, you lose the ability to know when it’s time to go. Also, when you hold your urine, the bladder can become a breeding ground for bacteria, which can lead to infections and cause damage to other organs of the body. Therefore, urinating on time helps to keep a healthy and strong bladder and it helps you regular the amount of water and hydration in your system.
When you don’t eliminate your bowels on time, it also causes a lot of stress on your body. Your immune system has to work harder to control the harmful bacteria accumulating in your intestines and your liver is working over time to detoxify your system from the toxins produced by these harmful bacteria. This also results in having a weaker body that gets tired more easily. This creates extremely smelly flatulence and bad breath. This also creates pimples or acne because your body is struggling to find ways to rid itself of the toxins and it now shows up on your face.
So there you have it! Friends, take the time to listen to your needs. Pay attention to your body and all aspects of yourselves. When you become aware of yourself on all levels, body, mind and spirit and take action, it will result in better health, mood, a stronger capacity and ability to face life’s challenges and a better sense of boundaries and time for yourself. I hope you enjoyed reading this. See the links below for more details.