Listening to Your Body, Not to Your Brain
When we being to even try to listen to our body, our brain, our pain, and our thoughts are screaming so loud. Trying to process all of this makes it is almost impossible to listen to our bodies. I didn't even mention the extra thoughts that come when you're also managing a chronic illness, like psoriatic arthritis or any kind of arthritis. Being so angry at our bodies, the last thing we want to do is listen to it.
You've probably been told plenty of times, "Listen to your body". But what does that really mean? And more importantly, how do you do that?
What happens when we avoid listening to our bodies?
For a long time, I avoided listening to my body. I would find myself pushing through the pain and focused on forgetting, instead of actually paying attention. I wasn't listening to my body. Instead, I was listening to my own negative thoughts. I felt sorry for myself instead of listening to what my body was trying to tell me.
Feeling pain and struggling to move was just part of my normal morning routine. A few stretches, a warm shower (if I had time), a coffee, and a cigarette or two. Yes, I know. I used to think cigarettes would help me become more regular. I was wrong and regret my past decisions - I have since learned better. Isn't that the beauty of growth?
When I look back and I remember my old habits, sometimes I actually feel embarrassed. I have learned to like that embarrassing feeling because that means that I'm very far from what I used to be.
Where do we even start?
Painful nights and extra stiffness make even starting the day pretty difficult. What can help is a check-in with yourself and the decision to have a positive mindset. This might be the only alone time we have in a day and one we can start to listen to our own bodies.
Before we check our phones, take 2-3 minutes each morning to check in with yourself. Find ways to listen to your body by asking:
- Are you feeling burned out?
- How is your overall mood? Appetite?
- Do you need a rest day?
Trust your instincts. You live in your body therefore you know it best. If something continues to feels off don't hesitate to loop in your healthcare team. Let your doctor know your new symptoms, when they started, what seems to help, what makes them worse, and how you've tried to fix the problem.
The added benefits
When we check in with our bodies, we save energy. We regulate our nervous system and blood pressure. Our muscles relax and our digestion improves. Overall, by prioritizing our body's needs, we are protecting our physical and mental health.
Not only will listening to your body improve your overall health but it can also be used as a lesson to teach loved ones to listen to their own bodies. It's so important to pay attention and check in with our bodies - before their tiny painful whispers become much bigger painful screams.
Do you regularly track your psoriatic arthritis symptoms?