Where does stress express itself in your body first? Sleep disruptions? Headaches? Change in appetite? Muscle tension or pain?
A healthy life requires us to prioritize ourselves, to be brave in making changes and to step out of our comfort zone, but for a variety of reasons we have learned to avoid these opportunities instead of confront our fears. Thankfully, when we deviate from what is in alignment with our best interests, we receive a number of different signals pointing us back in the right direction.
Your body happens to be one of your most reliable means for understanding how your engagement with life (including unconscious or not yet on your radar dynamics) is impacting you emotionally or spiritually.
You’ve probably accessed this connection before in times of high stress when you’ve correctly attributed somatic symptoms as being a consequence of an external stressor.
The key is to dig deeper, be more frequently attuned, and come to recognize the specific type and sequence of alarm bells that go off for you. Which changes happen first? Is it an inability to sleep through the night? Is it back pain? Is it irritability? The sooner you start to notice the signals your body is giving you, the sooner you can intervene on your own behalf.
Rather than ignore them, exclusively medicate them, or brazenly power through these messages from your body, stop—ask yourself why you may not feel at ease or in harmony with life: Where are you not honoring yourself or your boundaries? What have you outgrown that you’re refusing to look at it? Where has fear taken you hostage? Where are you not living in alignment with your soul?
Your body’s requests for attention usually start out somewhat calm and subtle before they turn into a full roar. However, you can trust that your body will scream and shout if need be. It may even force your hand at self care and acknowledgment by landing you in the hospital, or at the very least relegating you to bed, if you don’t heed it’s quieter, more manageable calls for change.
Your body is one of your greatest assets, work with it rather than struggle against it by embracing the intelligent interdependent relationship between your mind, body and soul.