As human beings, we're constantly communicating: with each other, with ourselves, with and without words, through our behavior, by suppressing our emotions, etc. Even when we do and think nothing, we're still communicating. Today I'd like to focus on a specific type of communication: the conversation that is going on between you and your body. But first, let me tell you a personal story, so you'll understand why it's important to pay attention to what your body's saying.
All my life I've been plagued by physical ailments, illnesses, allergies, chronic pain, and fatigue. By the time I was in my twenties and already working as a psychologist I'd already accepted all the symptoms and restrictions I was experiencing. I believed that I was convicted to bear the burden of chronic health problems. I was convinced, that I had a fragile constitution due to ongoing stress and that my immune system was weak because of my early childhood experiences with severe illness and taking heavy antibiotics from the day I was born. I was raised with the idea that a common cold was this horrible monster that I had to avoid at all cost. I wasn't allowed to go outside with wet hair, and I had to dress to the point of absurdity in the winter. In spite these efforts to „protect” me I was sick ALL THE TIME.
Still, surrendering to a life of pain wasn't in my best interest and not my life's plan, as it turned out. I was carefully guided towards understanding what was going on with my body and why, to the point that all my health issues got resolved. Grateful and in absolute awe I realized that helping people with chronic pain was my life's destiny.
So how did that all happen? Well... Visiting doctors, homeopaths and physiotherapists had never solved my problems. They provided relief in times of need, but only temporarily. All my life I had been suffering from chronic back pain (due to a falling accident at age 12), chronic fatigue (that I could manage with a healthy diet), and chronic headache. On top of that, in my mid-20s I started to experience „strange” virus-like symptoms and pain in my joints. I was bed-ridden for 6 months and couldn't do anything because I was so exhausted and quickly overstimulated. Finally, after extensive medical testing and finding absolutely nothing, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Immediately after my doctor had told me what she thought was going on I had one of my biggest breakthroughs. I decided right then and there „oh no, I'm not doing THAT to myself!”. I don't know where that came from, but this was LITERALLY my very first thought. It also was a decision. By then I had already learned that our bodies are communicating with us and that all kinds of illnesses and physical problems can have something to do with the way we are living our lives. I didn't know what to make of this illness. I didn't know how to translate this message. I just knew that my body was telling me, that something was wrong. Somewhere, someway, I had gotten off track with my life. So I decided to change EVERYTHING. I left my boyfriend, moved to a different city and, finally, quit my job. All my securities, everything I was building for myself...gone. I wiped the slate clean completely. It was not easy but proved to be very well worth it.
The second big breakthrough came when I was studying Time Line Therapy. I learned so much here! And during one of the exercises, I even got rid of the pain in my back which I'd had for 18 years! By age 30 I had overcome every illness, all the allergies, the chronic pain, and fatigue. Since then I've been on a mission to deepen my knowledge and skills of the mind-body connection and helping others to heal from within through awakening, awareness, and empowerment.
Fast forward to today: I'm healthy, I haven't even had a cold for over 3 years, and I'm totally pain-free (apart from an occasional headache that most people experience now and again or when I strain myself). And I want to share with you some insights and practical tools you can use to change your relationship with your body and start listening to what it has to say.
First, let's start with some basic assumptions:
* Your body is trying to communicate with you. You can learn to translate and understand its messages.
* Your body is an ally, a friend, and wants the absolute best for you.
* Your unconscious mind's job is to protect you from harm, even if it means it needs to hurt you.
* The body takes things literally and communicates with you through metaphors, so the words you use for your internal dialogue are of the utmost importance.
* The body has natural self-healing abilities. It knows how to balance itself and what is best for you.
Secondly, I'd like to let you in on a few secrets about communicating with your body. Here are some tips to start you off on the right foot:
* Your body has the capacity to do marvelous, wondrous things and heal itself. BUT. It can only do so when it's relaxed. So any type of stress diminishes the ability to heal because it diverts energy and attention onto survival.
One of the reasons we experience stress when we're in pain is, ironically, because of the pain. Pain itself can negatively affect our emotions, sleep, and energy levels. One thing we do that we can change and that contributes to our stress levels is the fact that we tend to fight against ourselves: we're fighting off the disease, we're angry and judgmental of our bodies, etc. I know I'm being a sort of „advocate of the devil” but I would like to say to you: don't shoot the messenger. Your body is communicating with you. Yes, sometimes in very debilitating and even life-threatening ways! And yet, when you've done everything you need to do to intervene, diagnose and treat the symptoms, it needs you to relax and be gentle. It might help to start a loving conversation with your body. Just talk to it in a kind way and do what feels right, true, and natural.
* To start listening to your body you can write it a letter. Start with „dearest body” or „dear unconscious mind”. Ask it to talk to you. Hold your pen on a piece of paper and start writing. This may feel a little strange at first and take some practice. In time you'll notice the words flowing from your hand naturally.
* Another great way to forge an alliance with your body is by asking it questions on a daily basis. Ask it what it wants to eat or wear. When you're looking through a menu in a restaurant, for instance, close your eyes, ask your body what it wants or needs, open your eyes and see what the first thing is that catches your eye. You'll soon find out it has a will of its own! And that listening to its guidance will gain you a new and valuable perspective.
* You can instruct your body/unconscious mind to help you deal with problems. You can ask it to help you heal a wound and make sure that no/minimal scarring will occur. For instance, when I feel the flu or something coming up, I firmly say „stop” to myself. I already know what these symptoms are telling me, so I immediately reassure my unconscious mind and change what I'm doing. I LISTEN to the signals my body is giving me by taking ACTION.
There are lots of other things you can do and skills you can learn to soothe your body and to give it the opportunity to heal, and finally, understand what it's saying. Awareness is power because then we can do something about it.
If you'd like to know more or need some help in exploring the ways you can communicate with your body and even find solutions and relief for chronic pain issues, please feel free to contact me!