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Notes from your health coach: ‘Private messages’ from your body

By Tuesday, Dec 3, 2019 mindfulness 1

“That’s how it all begins,” my mother said to me with authority on the phone from Moscow. “It first happened to me too when I was your age. You are not young any more, my dear. You need to slow down.” That did not sound very comforting. I was in my early forties and recently transitioned from a successful corporate executive career to owning my own business. After months of a grueling work schedule, I noticed that my energy began to fluctuate throughout the day. I was frequently more tired than usual and I did not sleep well, waking up multiple times through the night and unable to easily fall back to sleep. My mind kept me up, endlessly circling and making lists. I would finally dose off around 4:30 to 5 a.m. and wake up feeling tired and unrested. I had to push myself to get through the day

In that moment my mother connected the dots for me that I never linked together before: her multiple chronic illnesses began with the same aches and pains that, for her, too, started in the early forties. A scary realization set in – does that mean that I also, eventually, will face the same ailments? Will they happen to me as well? Are they inevitable and is it just a matter of time?

Many of my health coaching clients confront the same questions: “If it happened to my mom, will it happen to me? How can I prevent it?” Often, the answer is, “Yes, you can prevent it. To do so, we need to “listen” to these aches and pains, try to figure out what they mean, and determine how they may be linked to chronic disease.” Let’s take a look.

As with people, the body relates information to each of us in its own, unique language. It can’t call, text or send alerts to our cell phones (at least not yet). Instead, it communicates through aches, pains, and discomfort. These communications often take the form of headaches, sinus or gut issues, back or joint pain…the list goes on. I often hear people attribute these health issues to their aging process, where they don’t see a connection with chronic disease. Until that phone call with my mother, I also didn’t put two and two together.

I have since come to learn that these aches and pains are the body’s way of telling us that there may be hidden imbalances and, possibly, dysfunction developing inside. In a way, they are the body’s version of “private messaging,” the initial whispers through which it invites us to pause and pay attention, so we can help it restore function and come back into balance.

Frequently, the good news is that there is no chronic illness at this stage yet. And there is a lot we can do to prevent it. It’s best to not ignore these important messages from your body, but to respond to them by finding and addressing their root causes. It’s an essential part of creating “true health.”

So what was the essence of my body’s message delivered through low energy and poor sleep? What was it trying to tell me? To interpret that, we need to learn about hidden stressors. More on that in two weeks…stay tuned.

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