Notes from the online course – How to Be Your Own Life Coach – Lesson 4. – The Body as a Temple
Whether you believe, in a religious sense, that the body is a temple, it is obvious that you only get one for your whole life, so you’ve got to treat it right. As the World Health Organization said, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. In order to achieve mental, social, and spiritual health, the body must be attended to first.
Rather than rehashing all of the information you’ve already heard about weight loss and exercise, this lesson will focus on listening to your body. When you are your own life coach, just as it is imperative to be honest about your dreams and goals, it is likewise imperative to be honest about what your body is telling you. Our bodies communicate with us 24/7, but sometimes it is simply quieter than other times. When you come down with the flu, your body becomes very loud, demanding rest and fluids. Should you develop breast cancer, your body tells you that something may be wrong by developing lumps. When you stub your toe on a leg of the kitchen table, your toe becomes so loud that you often end up actually expressing the pain vocally as well.
Eating is a key area of listening in to your body – the human body craves nutrients and a multivitamin, while helpful, just is not going to cut it. Your body also wants water; oftentimes, it wants more water than you can even imagine. But you will find, when you start giving your body what it wants (as opposed to what your taste buds want), it will respond positively.
Exercise is another area that we often consider as important to keeping our weight down, but the fact is we all need to exercise our bodies regardless of our weight. Getting regular exercise doesn’t have to be expensive, nor does it necessarily need to take any time out of your schedule! For many of us, our lives are physical enough and we simply need to kick it up a notch to get it to count as exercise. If you garden, challenge yourself to get as much done as possible in a specific time frame. If you are cleaning house, put on some music and go faster than normal. If you like to be social, join a walking group or look into local sports teams.
Now, many of us have additional challenges to listening to our bodies and getting the right nutrition and exercise our bodies need. Those with chronic illnesses, special physical needs, and more often face significant obstacles when it comes to these areas. If you struggle with these issues, there is a positive flipside: those with chronic illnesses, disabilities, or other physical challenges, often are far more tuned in to their bodies to start with.
For those with chronic or long-term illnesses
Listening in to your body presents special challenges because you often struggle with mixed communications – you may know that your body wants exercise, but alternatively, that same exercise may increase your pain or decrease your ability to fight off infections. Your illness will likely cause extra stress on your mind and heart as well. Know that there is a lot of support out there for you. If you cannot find a local support group, consider starting one; you could also go online where you are sure to find a group for you.
Your body faces more complex issues when you have one or several illnesses. Most chronic illnesses are exacerbated by stress and can also cause other changes you may not be expecting. Food sensitivities, drug interactions, inability to sleep or stay awake, and more are just a sampling of the ways your body may struggle due to your illness(es). Listen and pay attention. If a treatment or prescription is not working the way you want it to or it is causing other problems, communicate with your doctor. If your doctor doesn’t respond or respect the knowledge you have of your own body, find a different doctor. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting someone who trusts you.