IS ANY­BODY LIS­TEN­ING?

WHAT STARTS AS A WHISPER OF WARN­ING CAN END UP QUITE SE­RI­OUS IF WE IG­NORE THE SIGNS

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | MIND - MIND YOU WORDS: ROWENA HARDY

When was the last time you lis­tened to your body? It may seem like a strange ques­tion, yet it could be one that helps to shift your per­spec­tive. The mind and body are in­tri­cately con­nected, for­ever in­ter­act­ing, com­mu­ni­cat­ing and work­ing in tan­dem. Due to the like­li­hood that we are al­ways hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with our­selves (that some­times in­cludes oth­ers), we spend a lot of time pay­ing at­ten­tion to all that we are think­ing, par­tic­u­larly the un­help­ful, self-crit­i­cal parts, but rarely if ever lis­ten to what our body is telling us. For ex­am­ple, when was the last time that you ex­pe­ri­enced pain in your foot, shoul­der, leg, chest, stom­ach or some­where else and, in­stead of ex­plor­ing what may have caused it, ig­nored it and reached for some pill or other form of self-med­i­ca­tion to keep it quiet, hop­ing it would just go away? We all have a ten­dency at times to blame our body or an ex­ter­nal set of cir­cum­stances for get­ting sick, caus­ing dis­com­fort or giv­ing us a se­ri­ous health prob­lem, for­get­ting that the mind and body are con­nected and that, at some level, we have con­trib­uted to it, un­con­sciously, through our be­hav­iour, habits or mind­set. For some, that can be a harder pill to swal­low. It’s highly un­likely that we would con­sciously make our­selves sick, yet our body does not lie. We of­ten choose to ig­nore the quiet signs it of­fers us in­di­cat­ing that some­thing needs at­ten­tion and giv­ing us the op­por­tu­nity to take ac­tion early. If we con­tinue to ig­nore the signs, the body of­fers us more signs, de­liv­er­ing them more fre­quently and with more ur­gency. Have you ex­pe­ri­enced that? What hap­pens next is that the body may need to give us a se­ri­ous wake-up call that jolts us from our rev­erie of de­nial – and that can be quite a shock. Our back locks up, our knee gives way, we de­velop an ul­cer, break a bone or de­velop a heart prob­lem – any of which can stop us in our tracks – and even then we may not change any­thing. Be­ing hu­man, it can take us a while to learn the lessons of­fered. Learn­ing to pay at­ten­tion to the small mes­sages from our body sooner rather than later, and choos­ing not to numb, ig­nore or over­ride them, al­lows us to con­sider which of our be­hav­iours, be­liefs or mind­set may be caus­ing the prob­lem in the first place and find a way to shift them. So, next time you are tempted to ex­er­cise through the pain, take on more work or re­spon­si­bil­ity than you can rea­son­ably han­dle or make un­wise food or drink choices, maybe try a dif­fer­ent strat­egy. Stop, breathe, lis­ten and make a choice that is more ef­fec­tive for your body rather than pleas­ing your mind and tak­ing what­ever “ad­vice” your in­ner critic may be giv­ing you: “no pain no gain, just one more won’t do any harm, you can han­dle it, think of the money”. Are you ready to lis­ten? Rowena Hardy is a fa­cil­i­ta­tor, per­for­mance coach and part­ner of Minds Aligned: mind­saligned.com.au

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