Listen to Your Body – Part One

January 6, 2009

Some time ago, a friend purchased a device that looked like a small water cooler but didn’t cool anything. It merely held and dispensed eight cups of water, the amount the manufacturers believed should be consumed daily by the health-conscious adult.

My first reaction was that nature has already given us a mechanism for assuring that we drink adequate water – thirst. Yet I know  that there is a need for this product. All of us have learned to ignore the messages our bodies send us. Probably this started in school when we had to raise our hands and get teacher’s permission before we went  to the water fountain or bathroom.  It was much easier to ignore our thirst and to hold our muscles tight than to make our needs known. In time we no longer even noticed when we were ignoring bodily needs.

Thus, it’s necessary as adults to learn to listen to our bodies.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Start with one sensation. Notice whether you put off drinking water when you’re thirsty. Then see if you can have a small drink of water every time you’re thirsty.  You’ll probably find you’re drinking the eight glasses that health experts recommend without having to count the number.
  • Next notice whether you avoid urinating or defecating until you “really need” to. Try going to the bathroom when you first feel the urge rather than waiting.
  • Another thing to notice is how your clothing feels. Once or twice a day stand fully dressed in front of a full-length mirror.  What pressures does your clothing put on you: tightness at the waist, the collar, the feet, the ankles?

Try these suggestions for a week. Next week, I’ll give you an exercise in deepening your awareness of the body.

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