By Kim Knight, Director of the Art of Health, Auckland, New Zealand
While most people would agree it’s not pleasant, and sometimes even excruciating, to experience mental, emotional or physical pain, the fact is that the symptoms often serve a purpose. This is most definitely the case for sufferers of conditions such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, insomnia, anxiety, irritable bowel and stress.
So, really, symptoms may be a good thing? That will sound like a crazy thing to hear for some people, because it does require a radical shift of perspective. You know that symptoms of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia are uncomfortable and inconvenient, often to the point of completely disrupting your life. However, the truth is symptoms are your body’s way of communicating to you. In other words, they are trying to tell you something.
The question is, do you know what they are trying to tell you? For most people with these conditions, the answer is usually no. They don’t have a clue. And if they did know, their body would not be needing to send them symptoms in the first place. Catch 22.
So this begs the question, how do you become aware of what it is that is going on inside your body so that you can actually understand the meaning of the exhaustion or pain? In other words, how do you become aware of what it is you are not aware of? Hmm…tricky..We know we need to become aware of something, but we’re not aware of what it is we’re not aware of.
So, to start with you begin to see symptoms in a different light. Instead of seeing them as ‘baddies’ that have to be ‘gotten rid of or eradicated’ as quickly as possible, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh, I have a symptom again – that means my body is trying to tell me something”. The first step in healing is ALWAYS to acknowledge how things actually are, rather than try to make them different. You cannot get from Auckland to Wellington if you don’t know you’re in Auckland when looking at a map of New Zealand.
As you begin to increase your awareness of what is going on between your mind and body, you start to ask yourself what is it your body has been trying to communicate to you about how it feels about what is going on in your life. In other words, you start to notice how you feel rather than what you think.
Unfortunately in our society, years of training go into developing our intellect, and whilst there is nothing wrong with this, it is not the only intelligence in your body. You also have other intelligences, such as gut feelings, intuition, practical intelligence and more. So what is being required for you if you have developed symptoms of chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, anxiety, stress etc is to start developing your emotional intelligence. Yes, you are going to have to start feeling.
As you start to investigate yourself and become more aware at a mind-body level, what will be revealed are the behaviours and habits you have set up during your life which it turns out are not particularly beneficial. These include things like putting everyone else first, ignoring your feelings, being a perfectionist, working too hard, driving yourself into the ground, seeking approval, putting yourself down and more.
What is important at this stage of becoming aware of your habits, is not to start judging yourself as bad or wrong. There were very good reasons for these behaviours being set in place, and at the time you were only doing your best. So, let yourself off the hook and give yourself a break. It’s OK! YOU are OK.
It will become apparent that how you live your life has an impact at a physical level, ie, it does affect what goes on inside your body at a physiological level. In other words, everything that happens in your life has an impact at a cellular level, and since your body (organism) is just a group of cells, organs and tissues, this will affect the functioning of every body system. Whether it be digestion, elimination, breathing, heart function, nerves, immunity, how you live your life is written in your body. Hence, these patterns and behaviours will, if continued long enough, lead to a state of ‘dis-ease’ in the body, which then means your body will start to send you symptoms.
Once you start listening to your body and what it is trying to tell you via your symptoms, your body will no longer need to manifest those symptoms. Once you truly see this, you wonder how you could ever have missed it. It’s not rocket-science – it’s just about awareness. It’s actually very simple, although not always easy at first, and will require training and practice. The good news is, it will work! Go well.
Kim Knight – The Art of Health
It’s an art to keep yourself healthy!
+64 9 833 6553 / +64 21 410 633