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How Listening To Your Body Can Improve Your Life

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If you want to see what your body will look like tomorrow, look at your thoughts today. -Navajo saying

Your body is programmed for survival. Heeding early warnings protects your health. Familiarize yourself with how your body speaks to you. It wants you to be well. It will tell you if you are not. Hippocrates wrote over two thousand years ago, "There is a measure of conscious thought throughout the body." This is practical wisdom you can live by.

In my book "Dr. Orloff's Guide to Intuitive Healing," I describe how your body is a richly nuanced intuitive receiver -- and how you must be aware of your body's signals to completely heal. This may require some adjustment of how you think about health. As a physician, I've seen that many people are trained to function from the neck up denying the rest of their bodies. I want you to re-orient yourself -- to respect the intellect, but attend to your body's messages as well. Being aware of the body can open intuition because you're focusing on your physicality, getting out of your head and into your sensual awareness. This may mean noticing the early signs of pain so you can act on them, trusting your gut about relationships or awakening your sexuality. We can't afford to ignore life-informing signals your body sends.

It's vital to re-train yourself to override mechanisms you've developed to push through discomfort. To prevent illness I'm going to show you how to pay special attention to physical distress signals. Honor your body's messages; don't discount them. Simple, prompt action is sometimes all it takes. If you're tired, rest. If you're hungry, eat a delicious meal. If you're stressed, get a relaxing massage. The price of not listening? You could come down with the flu. Maybe your back goes out. You still don't listen? Might be chest pains. Ulcers. Depression. The thermostat gets turned up until you pay attention.

To listen to your body and get a headstart on warding off symptoms, get used to detecting the quieter messages your body sends. It's important to listen to what your gut says, whether it's tied up in knots or relaxed -- this intuition can inform all your decisions by pointing you to people and situations you're comfortable with. Also notice your energy level around people. Does it go up or down? Your body picks up on this quickly. Try to surround yourself with positive people. This will improve your health and well-being. Here are some signals your body sends if it's out of balance. Some of them you may recognize right away.

5 WARNING SIGNS YOUR BODY SENDS (from "Dr. Orloff's Guide to Intuitive Healing")

  1. Do you ever walk around feeling "off-center?" Oddly numb? Out of focus? Detached? As if you're somehow missing a beat? How long do you tolerate this sense that your body just isn't right?
  2. Do you sometimes feel "toxic," as if you're coming down with the flu, though there are no other signs of it?
  3. Have you experienced unexplainable symptoms that may have gone on for years? A knot or emptiness in the pit of your stomach? A lump in your throat? An aching heart?
  4. Do you ever have a distressing sense of rawness or feeling exposed? Everything seems to get to you and you feel you have no defense?
  5. Are you chronically tired?

If you answer "yes" to any of these questions it's worthwhile to begin by taking a general inventory of your health and stress level. What areas can be improved upon? Examine everything from the amount of exercise to alone time to your relationships. Make sure you're allotting enough space to recharge. Though the above changes may seen relatively minor, on an intuitive level they indicate early difficulty. To start, do your best to pinpoint and remedy problem areas.

To detect your body's warnings, both quiet and loud, requires increasing your sensitivity to the nuances of its messages. The art of listening entails sensing smaller symptoms before they become full blown. Mindfulness is key. Denial is the antithesis of intuition. We must do what we can to get past it. As a physician, I've seen time and again how increasing body awareness facilitates prevention of illness and more vibrant health. Listening to your body is a powerful step towards self-care that benefits wellness in all areas.