Body talk: How to tune in to your health

*Contributed collaborative post

How often does your body talk? The truth is that your body is constantly talking to you, a symbiotic loop of feedback about your health and wellbeing which is a valuable insight.

The trouble is, most of us are too busy to listen. In fact, we train ourselves to actively ignore these cues from our body. We’re all so busy and our lives are full of so many commitments and caring responsibilities that somehow our own health can seem like a mere inconvenience, rather than one of our greatest assets.

We don’t want to spend the time on considering our health, and so we tune out of what our bodies are trying to signal, ignore symptoms which we should be addressing, and chalk up generic health failings to simply being tired or busy, rather than as clues to a puzzle.

Lady Wearing White Spaghetti Strap Top and Holding Her Brown Short Hair

While this is entirely understandable, especially as some symptoms can be fairly nebulous, it’s not a good idea. Small health niggles can seem insignificant in isolation, but when taken together can be a clue to a real matter of ill health. In addition, small concerns can often multiply and get much worse, and what would have been a matter of routine treatment to begin within becomes something much more serious over time.

Reconnecting With Your Body

Instead of automatically dismissing small health concerns, we should be prioritising paying attention to things which seem unusual, out of the ordinary or which can’t be easily explained. With any concerns, it’s important to book in with your health professional as soon as possible to either have the concern explained or to start an appropriate course of treatment without delay.

We need to become our own health advocates – scheduling regular check-ups, not just with your primary physician but with other professionals such as chiropractors, physiotherapists, opticians and dentists. Begin by acknowledging that, no matter how busy life is, your continued good health is a fundamental pillar of your life, and that time dedicated to your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing is an important investment to make in one of the foundations of your life. Often learning the practice of mindfulness – even just for a few minutes each day –  can help us to retune and reconnect with our bodies and what they have to say to us.

Breathing Issues

Shortness of breath is one of those things which are soon forgotten or dismissed when it’s over – but it’s very important to follow up on, especially if they are accompanied by recurring fatigue. Losing breath can be a sign of a wide range of issues – from a simple virus to something more complex and insidious such as anxiety – or even heart diseases.

If you persistently experience this with no obvious stimulus such as intense exercise. Heart disease in younger people is a worrying trend that needs prompt and responsive treatment, as timely help is essential and can even be lifesaving. Doctors can perform additional tests to determine the reasons behind these symptoms and the consequences of ignoring them can be severe, so make sure you get them investigated quickly.

Ringing In Your Ears

We have all experienced tinnitus from time to time – that annoying ringing in your ears after a sudden loud noise or going to a concert – but if yours is persistent and doesn’t seem to have any particular trigger, it doesn’t have to be written off as ‘just one of those things’. If it’s especially bad and persistent, tinnitus can lead to mental health conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, depression or relationship problems. The condition is relatively straightforward to put right with tinnitus treatment and can really improve your quality of life when you do.

Broken Sleep

Insomnia is an epidemic in our always-on, 24 hour culture, and so we seem to accept it as a given. In fact, sleeplessness should be the exception rather than the rule, and not getting enough rest can lead to a huge range of mental and physical health issues  – from fertility issues to diabetes, mood disorders and gaining weight – that can become serious. Women can be especially vulnerable to this because they tend to juggle so many roles and are susceptible to hormone fluctuations.

Woman Laying Down On Bed Near Window

Start by addressing any sleep hygiene issues – the room where you take your rest needs to be dark – try installing blackout blinds or wearing a sleep mask –  on the cooler side, and free of any blue-light emitting electronic devices which disrupt the body’s production of melatonin, the hormone which sends us to sleep. Invest in a quality mattress and bedding. If you still can’t drop off and there’s not an identifiable cause, or you wake up feeling consistently unrefreshed, there could be an issue like sleep apnoea at play, so make sure you seek support.

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