How to Listen to Your Body 

JAY BRADLEY

WELLNESS--We are all bombarded by ways in which we can stay young and healthy. Every day there are new products, studies, celebrity endorsements, and methods for us to get fit, remain youthful, and to live longer. For certain people, it can be exhausting. The reason many of us feel overwhelmed is because we have been taught to listen to the experts and follow the crowd instead of going inward and allowing our own voice to lead the way. All of this information overload can lead to confusion or even worse, paralysis. 

While there are certainly times when we need professional advice along with research studies in order to compile a concrete case, the best guidance is simply, “listen to your body.” 

It is also important to figure out why you’re making changes in the first place. Is it because somebody else needs you to change or does it come from a genuine desire to improve, expand, and grow? Is it because society says that you should be thinner, younger, and different than you are now or do you genuinely want it for yourself? These are important questions to contemplate. 

As a wellness coach this can be one of the most difficult messages to convey. My role is to share the latest information about health and wellness and to help others find a way to live, that best suits their lifestyle. But unless my clients connect with their true inner motivation to make those changes, chances are, they’ll eventually go back to their old ways. And, unless what I am offering truly resonates with them, they probably won’t stick with it anyway. 

If you’re reading this and looking for answers then I am sorry to disappoint. If however, you’re ready to trust your own voice of wisdom along with some guidance, then you’ve come to the right place! 

Let’s take a look at some important areas of health and wellness and ways in which we can trust our own authentic voice: 

FOOD--There is NOT one diet that works for everybody. Just because a book says, “eat for your blood type”, or “avoid gluten”, or “skip carbs”, it doesn’t mean it will necessarily work for you. For example, being vegan certainly has lots of health benefits and makes ethical sense, but what about all of those other studies that say we need animal protein and fats? There is plenty of conflicting evidence out there. So what do we do? 

The key is to listen to your body. How do you feel after meals? Do certain foods increase your energy while others deplete you? What foods are you craving? Are those cravings coming from an imbalance in your system or do they come from your emotional need to feel better? Your job is to figure out which cravings are beneficial and come from a physical issue such as low blood sugar and which are simply showing up because you seek comfort, which by way, isn’t always bad. 

Tip: Experiment. Keep a food journal for 7 days and track how you’re feeling throughout the day. Really tune in to what your body is asking you for. Only you’ll know for sure. 

EXERCISE--While I am a huge advocate of high intensity cardio training using sprints and weight training, it is fair to say that it may not be for everybody. Some body types benefit more from gentle yoga or Pilates, and others from swimming or cross fit classes. In other words, don’t let anybody else tell you what you need. 

Tip: Once again, experiment and try a variety of exercises. Of course if you want to burn fat and build muscle there are certain ways to do that. But perhaps that isn’t your true goal. Just because advertisers are showing lean, toned, and trim bodies, doesn’t mean everybody needs to be that way. Be the best version of you and don’t compare. Being perfectly toned and fit doesn’t necessarily mean that we are healthy unless all aspects of our health are taken into account. 

SUPPLEMENTS--I am a big promoter of taking vitamins, minerals, and supplements. My belief is that we cannot get everything we need from our food due to the fact that we aren’t eating a varied enough diet and because of the depletion in our soils. That being said, not everybody needs all of the supplements that I recommend. Again, it’s about listening to your intuition first and foremost. 

Tip: Feel free to sample various vitamin supplements and do your research. Nobody can tell you what you require, only you’ll know for sure. Get regular check-ups and blood work, but understand that we often cannot feel the benefits that our vitamins offer us. Sometimes we do need to trust that they are benefiting us on a cellular level. 

COSMETIC SURGERY--I am all for a little nip and tuck, Botox, filler, and a laser procedure, if it makes you look and feel better. There are no definitive long-term studies that show Botox or Hyaluronic facial fillers have a negative affect on our health. 

The problem arises when you are looking from the outside in rather than the inside out. I often see people looking for a “quick fix” to their physical body when the real change needs to take place in their emotional well-being. 

Tip: Hire a therapist or coach and work through those deep emotional issues that require your awareness. If you’re feeling more balanced and you’re in a good headspace, by all means look into procedures that will help you to feel better about yourself. When it comes to finding a good plastic surgeon or dermatologist, make sure to see photos of their previous work and find one who takes the “less is more approach.” The key is always to look like a new and refreshed version of you. 

Finding a balance in life can be challenging at times. Always listen to your higher self and receive only that which truly resonates. Your body is communicating with you. Are you listening?

 

(Jay Bradley is an anti-aging, wellness, and lifestyle expert living in Los Angeles.  http://jaybradleylifestyle.com. He is the author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger, and Feel Better!)

-cw

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