Your body gives you mixed signals all the time: You’re exhausted during the day, but can’t sleep at night. You crave carbs all the time, but then feel bloated and irritable when you eat them. You gain weight when you’re on a diet and lose weight when you stop exercising…
What is going on?
The truth is that our beautiful bodies are infinitely more complicated than we’ve been lead to believe. In spite of decades of medical reassurances that one-size-fits-all pharmaceuticals are the answer, the fact is, we are intrinsically unique. Despite statistics, “norms”, and base line numbers, every single body requires specialized care.
What Does This Have to Do with You?
This means that no matter how emphatic your fitness coach is about high intensity interval training, it might actually not be for you. Similarly, a vegan, Paleo, or South Beach diet may be the worst possible choice for your health and body.
I wish I had one sure-fire, all around, you-betcha method to heal your bod and strengthen your mind and connect with conscious purpose in life.
But I don’t.
However, I can teach you a little something about developing Health Intuition – which is the single best thing you can do for life long healing.
Most people put their health in the hands of doctors – in fact, they practically throw it at them, desperate to numb the pain, fix the problems, and forget about the whole thing. They want a hands-off approach, with no responsibility and no inconvenience.
Ah, honey. I wish.
But your health is your power, and your intuition is the finely tuned wisdom that curates that power into genuine vitality – physically, mentally, spiritually, the whole party.
It’s a shame, and maybe even a little depressing, but no one is going to advocate for your health if you don’t. And you can’t possibly get very far if you aren’t intimately acquainted with the intricate language of your physiology. A doctor will never really know what’s best for you and how those pills will affect your moods, emotions, and psyche. Only you can.
How Do You Develop Health Intuition?
We’ve all been taught to mitigate symptoms and numb the pain – how do you go into your experience and extract meaning, without getting overwhelmed? How do you create and strengthen the muscles of intuition, so that you can be your own best doctor and heal with intelligence and clarity?
Developing health intuition is about moving away from pain and confusion into a place of mindful experience and understanding. It’s about listening with love and guiding yourself back into balance when things go awry. It’s interpreting the experience you have in your mind and body as meaningful; honoring its signals to achieve greater harmony within yourself and in the world around you.
In time, you will become accustomed to the language of your mind and body; at this point, you will have a much greater sense of exactly what you need in any given situation; more sleep, less stress, more B vitamins. Essentially, you are strengthening your gut instinct with regards to your health and wellbeing.
It’s certainly not a hard science, and I don’t intend to mislead you into thinking this is a health obsession that will suddenly reveal all answers to all things; it’s a gift of internal wisdom that provides freedom from fear based living (omg, why do I feel this way!?) and independence from generic advice (that is ultimately useless to you and your unique situation.
A crucial aspect of developing an intuition of your own mind and body is turning the volume down on life. Modern existence is rife with constant stimulus; you must must must step back, unplug, and unwind.
Distraction is often a coping mechanism; it allows us to drown out the unpleasant, boring, and uncomfortable aspects of the day to day. However, developing health intuition is the opposite of this. It’s noticing everything with intention. It’s digging out the root, finding the meaning, and being honest about cause and effect.
When you reduce the amount of chatter in your life, listening to your own mind and body becomes much easier – and, with practice, second nature. Unsubscribe from demanding newsletters, leave your headphones at home, and recycle the gossips mags; the senses of your heart will have a wealth of wisdom to share with you – about your emotional triggers, deepest needs, and the healing paths that are exactly right for you.
Consciously customize your life to be in tune with your mind and body to create a beautiful mindset and thriving health.
Do Less, Be More
It’s frowned upon in our society, but doing less opens the door to becoming more. As with distractions, doing is a coping strategy and being busy is seen as a sign of purpose and success. Aside from being a smoke screen for stress and insecurity, busy clouds your ability to feel and distinguish – and is often a huge contributing factor for ill health and lack of well being.
Examine all the areas in your life that cause significant strain, drama, and upheaval. Can you disengage from them, even temporarily? Can you quit the committee, avoid the fake socials, and work from home once a week?
Instead of bulldozing your life with busyness, give yourself space. Pencil in quiet time. Get an adult coloring book. Go for a walk. Be alone. Find what feels good for you, and give your mind and body the chance to speak to you. Gain clarity by calming it down and scaling back.
Everything from brain fog to mood and energy levels effect and are effected by what you consume – but blind speculation will only frustrate and confuse. Sticking with this practice for a month will give you a bird’s eye view of your eating habits and how they might be influencing your wellbeing.
This is not obsessive calorie counting or an exercise in self judgement. This is the single best way to orient your mind toward recognizing actions and reactions. No need to be meticulous, just be honest. You may be surprised what sort of patterns crop up that you wouldn’t have been able to pin-point otherwise.
In time, this will enable you to identify specific signals from your body, and respond calmly and effectively.
I hesitate to mention this one – a.) because it’s so boring and b.) because it can lead to unhealthy nutrient restriction.
However, I will proceed with caution, because I do believe it offers a brilliant chance to dial into your body’s inner workings. Providing you stick to the guidelines and know that elimination diets are designed for short periods of time, they can compliment your food journaling journey.
Intuition starts with simplicity. By paring down your menu, you can easily isolate different foods or food groups to determine how you react to them. It’s almost impossible to identify the effect a specific food has on you without minimizing the variables. Potential culprits can hide in unlikely places, so in order to get to the bottom of your hormone imbalances, bloating, and PMS, develop a knowing relationship what you eat to enhance your health intuition.
Learn with Purpose
Although intuition is cultivation from within, external influence can sharpen your tools for maximum effect. Now that we’ve ditched the distractions, set aside some of that spare time and space in your life with intelligent learning; that is to say, give up the drama series binge (which is just distracting fluff and filler) and bring more meaning into your day.
Read inspiring books that teach you how to connect with your inner truth. There are podcasts and documentaries for every niche; listen during your commute, while you cook dinner, and when you brush your teeth.
Adopt a practice of positive affirmations and empower your subconscious mind to teach your cells how to heal themselves with love and enthusiasm! Test out different self-help modalities. Find exactly what works for your individual needs and preferences. Open your mind to wider possibilities, all while honing your own perception of self.
Prepare For Surprises and Contradictions
True intuition knows that hard and fast rules often only apply to a small portion of life – the rest of the time, it’s a complete jumble of fact, feeling, experience, and unexpected outcomes. Creating your own health intuition means listening to your body to develop a dynamic ebb and flow.
It’s combining medication and meditation, if you must. It’s sticking to your guns, and being flexible; respecting your body with nourishing food, and celebrating your grandma’s birthday with scrumptious carrot cake.
Finding balance and alignment is a system of give and take; moreover, it’s knowing when to give, and when to take. It’s not being “correct”, but recognizing that your mind and body can hold two opposing views at the same time.
Allowing yourself to live in this freedom of flow will dispel any hard-line thinking (and subsequent guilt) that often accompanies strict healing protocols and intense ideologies.
A Final Word on Health Intuition
It’s vital for you to know that these parameters are intended to bring you freedom and understanding – not eternal restriction and misery.
Use these tools to sharpen your senses. Get the most out of your wellness routine by becoming your own best advocate – knowing when, how, and why to seek help, take herbal supplements, get acupuncture, and so on.
You will discover exactly what works for you. You will avoid wasting precious time, money, and energy on stuff that just doesn’t work for you (and be OK with it!).
Get intuitive, my lovely.
Tell me. Have you discovered the secret to harmonious hormones? What happened when your body hit rock bottom? How has your intuition ever saved you from disaster. I want to know.