It’s probably obvious that your lifestyle choices affect your health. If you’re not eating right, getting poor sleep, not hydrating enough, or not getting enough movement and exercise, this will influence your health. But what about listening?
When you’re hungry, your body tells you you’re hungry. And I’m sure we’ve all experienced this. Same goes for being tired, or thirsty. These are all examples of us listening to our bodies. But are you really listening, beyond the obvious? Learning to listen to your body is also a lifestyle choice, and one that’s very underappreciated, and underused.
Why is listening important? It’s how you prevent, overcome, and reverse chronic disease.
Doctors are beginning to recognize this as well, and it’s generally understood by the medical community that 95% of all chronic disease can be reversed with lifestyle choices. Which means lifestyle is responsible for most chronic disease.
For instance, how do you feel after you eat certain types of foods, as foods can trigger a wide range of emotions and how you feel physically and mentally. Are you depressed, does your anxiety go up, or go down? Do you experience stomach discomfort or digestive distress? And this is probably the one we’re all familiar with. But how many of us are really taking notice, beyond the end result, and understanding (listening) to what just caused that distress?
It’s not easy, for sure. Being totally aware and mindful of how our environment and food choices and other stressors affect us takes work. A tremendous amount of work actually. But it really is the first step to adapting your environment and lifestyle choices to your unique physiology. Your unique mental and emotional makeup.
Have you ever been around certain smells that triggered a negative reaction? Someone wearing too much perfume or cologne, driving by a feedlot with the car windows down. Does your breathing change? Is it more difficult to breathe deeply, are your breathing patterns altered? These are signs, albeit somewhat obvious signs. But beginning with the obvious signs is how you begin to really listen, to really tune-in to how your body reacts to different stimuli.
Or maybe it’s more mental or emotional. If something happens to your child, or your work situation isn’t great, is it affecting your sleep? Maybe trouble falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night with so many thoughts that you can’t get back to sleep.
These are issues that can create chronic disease. Maybe not short-term; you just deal with it as best you can. But if these lifestyle issues begin to linger, especially when you’re not truly noticing the effects, they will eventually catch up with you. Day after day, week after week, month after month. It’s no coincidence that chronic lifestyle issues create chronic disease.
Everything has an effect, whether you’re exposing yourself to emotional stress, physical stress, environmental stress, or eating the wrong kinds of foods, not getting enough movement in your life. These are all affecting you a certain way. And if you listen to how your body reacts to these triggers, that’s the first step to correcting them.
Now any kind of stress is detrimental to health. But how we react to stress, or to certain chemicals, or certain foods, this is very much unique for everyone. And precisely why you need to listen. For instance, if you’re familiar with the algae chlorella, you know what an amazing superfood it is. The problem is that a very small percentage of people are allergic to it. Which makes it detrimental for those people.
What does this have to do with chiropractic care?
The same rules apply. You are unique. A superfood for one person may cause another to get ill. A chiropractic adjustment for one person may improve focus and concentration. In another it may create better digestive health. Or reduce levels of stress. Because everyone reacts differently to a chiropractic adjustment. And by listening to how your body reacts, we’re better able to help you experience more benefits.
We want your chiropractic treatments to be as effective as possible. And to do that, we have to work as a team. Which means providing feedback.
Most of us go through our days and our lives in spectator mode. In general, we could all use a little more mindfulness, a little more awareness. When you listen to your body, you go from spectator to participant. And this is when you’ll be at your healthiest. Because you’ll know what’s right for you, and what’s wrong for you. You’ll have the awareness to see it. And we’ll be better able to tailor treatments that are more individualized.