The physical process of keeping us within the fine physical parameters needed to survive and thrive is called homeostasis, and our amazing bodies do this complicated job without us even realising. Internal sensors throughout our body regulate factors such as our temperature, appetite, and energy levels, and send us little signals if we need to act to stay within these parameters.
So, if your sensors pick up a slight drop in body temperature, your ‘cold’ response will be activated, causing shivers and goosebumps, and usually a run to find some warm clothing to wrap up in.
These basic physical needs are essential for life, and we grow up learning to respond appropriately to these signals.
But as if this isn’t impressive enough, our bodies sense and keep of track of many more things than the fundamental basics. For every second of the day, your body and mind are both working together non-stop; taking in your immediate surroundings, creating thoughts and feelings, releasing hormones, balancing electrolytes, laying down memories, recognising faces and smells, interpreting sounds, generating ideas, activating your immune system, digesting your food.
Millions of micro-activities keep you functioning on a higher level so that you can work, play, parent, socialise, stay safe, and live the life you choose.
Just as with an imbalance in the bigger things, like hydration, sleep and temperature, your body and mind also need to finely manage the ‘little’ things. When a big thing goes wrong, we know about it. But when other ‘smaller’ things are out of balance, either physically or emotionally, we receive quiet alerts as our body tries to bring it to our attention.
Some of the little signals your body sends out can be hard to notice. An ache here. A pain there. A bloated stomach. A skin rash. Feeling exhausted.
As we go about our busy lives, juggling a career, children, partner, and hobbies, we can dismiss these little niggles. We simply don’t have the time to stop and think about them in most cases.
And because we don’t stop and wonder why our shoulders have started aching, or that tummy ache keeps coming back, or we keep crying for no reason, we don’t get to the bottom of the cause.
Unlike the basic physical functions that keep us alive, these little signs can be ignored, and are often pushed to the bottom of our priorities list. The problem, though, is that if you don’t hear your body when it’s whispering, it will have to shout. And when your body and mind know you’re reaching crisis point, these little niggles will increase in number or frequency until they culminate in an episode you really can’t ignore.
For some women, that episode can be so intense it can result in debilitating physical illness or nervous breakdown. When you are forced to completely stop, you might realise that your body was actually sending out warning signs for some time.
Recognising that the body and mind work in unison is a big step in learning to pay attention to how you’re feeling. It’s easier to push unwanted thoughts from your mind than it is to ignore extreme physical symptoms, and your clever body and mind know this, so they create physical symptoms that eventually get your attention.
Learning to tune into these little signals and messages can help you reconnect with your body and start really listening to what it’s telling you before it gets to crisis point.
If you want help learning to tune into your body, the Weekly Wellness Tracker can help you identify the triggers that are affecting your physical symptoms so you can make changes to feel better quickly.
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