The body is amazing and has incredible healing mechanisms that are always working to keep you alive. These mechanisms keep the heart beating, heal cuts, fight off infections and repair DNA without you even having to think about it.
The catch is, these mechanisms need a bit of help to do their thing.
They can’t work unless you stop from time to time!
The thought of taking time for yourself might feel like a luxury, or maybe stopping is something you just don’t know how to do. It does feel like time is moving faster and like there’s never enough hours in the day. It can feel so challenging to try and stay on top of everything, stay organised and make sure that everyone is taken care of.
Of course, you do have responsibilities, obligations, and people to take care of, and it probably makes you feel good to do these things because you’re a very caring person. But, the restorative work is just as important so that you can keep doing all of these things.
Your gut issues probably seem like the last thing you can do anything about because of everything else going on, so you keep going. You keep moving because what else can you do – no one can tell you what the problem is anyway!
This is where a different approach is needed. Another, much more simple approach that seems like it can’t work because it’s too simple and, perhaps, feels impractical.
I’m sure you know by now that your symptoms get worse when you feel stressed, worried, anxious or when there’s a lot going on. But where do you start?
You start with you. Because that’s the only thing you can change.
No matter what your circumstances are, your response will be as a result of your internal belief systems and thought patterns.
If you have a belief that you’re only useful if you’re doing things, all you will ever see are things to be done and you’ll fill every spare second with doing things. If free time opens up, you’ll quickly fill it with something new to be done.
The issue with this, aside from exhaustion, is that it keeps your body in the ‘flight or fight’ state, which is a physiological response to danger that has protected us for hundreds of millions of years. These days our dangers are mostly mental, but the body doesn’t know the difference.
Your body becomes tense, outputs high levels of stress hormones and shuts down digestive mechanisms and immune system production in preparation to either run or fight (I discuss this in more detail in some of my other blogs).
So, you never get a chance to heal. You never get a chance to restore. And symptoms keep getting worse and worse.
What we need to do is get out of the way and let our body do its thing. We need to calm the mind and just give ourselves that chance. It doesn’t have to be much to make a huge impact.
It’s like stretching after exercise to assist with muscle repair. We need to rest our brains regularly to help the body repair 🙂
A Harvard study found that meditation dampens genes involved in creating inflammation and promotes genes for DNA stability – helping you to live longer! Importantly, this decreases inflammation which also restores the gut.
Meditation also develops neuroplasticity, reduces stress, improves memory and productivity and activates the ‘rest and digest’ response in the body. This initiates the innate ability of the body to heal.
Mediation doesn’t have to be very long or even a set-aside thing to go and do. Bringing your attention to the present moment is a form of meditation. Taking several deep belly breaths and feeling the sensations on your body is meditation. Guided body relaxation scans are meditative. Yin yoga is meditative.
It’s only small, but it gives your body that chance to heal. You’ll find too that once you start this practice, you’ll feel like you actually have more space. Try doing some breathwork or guided meditation for just 10 minutes per day for 7 days and notice how you feel!