“Listen to your body” is advice that nearly everyone has heard at one point or another, but it’s a sentiment that is easier said than done. For many people, perceptions on health and nutrition come from outside sources—nutritional fads, generic medical advice, or even tips from eccentric celebrities. Instead, we should be focusing on what our bodies need, and that can be a difficult task if you don’t know how to listen to the signals that your body is giving you. To help you tune in and gain a better understanding of what’s best for your unique needs, take a look at the situations below in which you should always listen to what your body is trying to say.
When You’re Worn Too Thin
Suffering from fatigue is not uncommon, nor is attempting to push through the fatigue with an added dose of caffeine and willpower. Unfortunately, favoring constant productivity over proper rest and relaxation can cause both immediate and long-term problems. In the short-term, you might find yourself overwhelmed with anxiety, feeling irritable or ready to snap at any given moment. Over time, this stress can take a heavy toll on all aspects of your health; plus, it is more likely that you will experience an accident or major health problem that could put all of your responsibilities on hold. While it may not always be easy to let go of a few of the chores on your to-do list, you should always know when to simply take a step back and enjoy some quiet time to yourself.
When You’re in Pain
Much like fatigue, pain is often ignored by those who are suffering. Whether you are coping with chronic or recurring pain, excessive soreness during your workout, or the aftermath of an injury that has not had time to heal, you should not let pain take over your life. This is especially true during exercise. Often, the “no pain, no gain” mentality is taken way out of context, so weekend warriors and professional athletes alike push too hard and end up with acute injuries or long-term damage to their bodies.
When You Feel Sluggish
Let’s say you get plenty of sleep every night, but you are still feeling tired or constantly worn down. In this situation, your body might be telling you that you need to focus on your primary source of energy: Your diet. Nutrition can be a minefield of misinformation, but there is no mistaking the signs that you aren’t eating right—sluggishness, frequent illnesses, unexpected weight gain or loss, or frequent junk food cravings. To pinpoint better eating habits for your body, first focus on eating only when you really need to. Eat exclusively when you are hungry, and take your time so that you stop when you are full, not stuffed. From here, you might pay more attention to how you feel after you eat. When you aren’t satisfied or replenished by a meal, think about what was in it that could be taking a toll on your physical wellness.
When You’re Right
It can take some time to develop healthy habits by listening to the signals your body is providing you, but there are times when you might simply know that you are right. Those gut feeling moments when you sense you are in danger, you’re making a big life decision, or you’re in a high-pressure situation are often best handled by your instincts, so you should definitely listen to what your body is telling you now more than ever.