We live in an age of information and sensory overload. Our days are full of tasks involving careers, kids, meal planning, managing distractions, housekeeping, and so much more. Through it all, our heart keeps beating, our involuntary breaths keep us alive, and our circulatory system nourishes our organs all without us thinking. It's a glorious wonder that makes it easy for us to take our health for granted. We don't want to worry about one more thing. So we selectively don't.
Maybe you wake up one day feeling abdominal pain and justify it away by poor food choices the evening prior. Maybe you notice a rash on your skin and silently hope it was just an overactive mosquito bite. Maybe you begin to have headaches more frequently and you decide it's the stress you've been under. And maybe all of those hypotheses are accurate.
But maybe they're not.
You see, our bodies aren't just existing. They're communicating to us. Just as we have a dialogue with a dear friend or loved one, we should be having a dialogue with our bodies. If our bodies attempt to communicate with us and we ignore the warnings, the signals will become more and more clear and obvious, often to the point of pain and disability. Just like a mother who asks her child to clean his or her room multiple times, with each time getting more and more assertive, our bodies will grow increasingly more communicative over time. We consciously make the decision to respond or to selectively ignore. This decision can alter the course of our healthcare journey.
That abdominal pain may be food poisoning from the previous night's meal, but is also may be a signal that one or more internal organs are not functioning properly. That rash on your skin may be a hyper-reactivity to a mosquito bite, or it may be your immune system beginning to identify your normal cells as abnormal. Those headaches may be tension-related, or they may be a sign of severe dehydration or elevated blood pressure.
Beginning to be present with your body and enter into a dialogue doesn't have to equate to paranoia. Just as you want your needs and desires to be heard, your body may be crying out for help. Respond to the whisper before it becomes a cry.