4 Steps to Interpret Your Body's Signals

signals symptoms Oct 06, 2022

Your body is trying to tell you something, are you open to what it has to say?

Every day your body is sending signals to your brain. These signals are the information your brain uses to know whether or not to continue down a certain path. Just like traffic lights, the signals warn you of obstacles in your path, tell you when to push forward, or tell you when to slow down and wait.

You may see these signals as conditions or problems on their own. Oftentimes, they may actually be symptoms of another issue. When you pay attention to the symptoms as signals from your body, instead of a problem to be treated, you will begin to uncover and heal deeper underlying health issues.

Learning how to listen to, understand, and accept the signals as indicators of your overall health will inform how you act in order to heal faster and feel better.

Here are my top four tips for unpacking the signals your body is sending:

Listen to symptoms as if they are sending you a message, because they are. 

For example, you might think your headache is just a headache, something easily treated with Tylenol or Ibuprofen so you can move on with your day.  Before you grab that pill bottle, think about what you headache may actually be trying to tell you.  Ask yourself questions to see if there is something more important that you need to pay attention to.

Is this the first day you’ve had a headache or is it recurring over a few days or longer?

Has anything changed in your diet or activities that may be causing a headache?  

Is there anything else going on in your body that might relate to the headache?

Questions like these, and many more, can help you take a moment to listen to your body and ensure that you are aware of any bigger messages it may be trying to send.  Paying attention to the small signals can help you avoid the bigger, life threatening ones by recognizing problems early, before they escalate.

If you think there might be something to investigate, that’s when we move to the next step.

Understand your symptom patterns to identify root causes.

After listening to your body and realizing it has something to say, the harder part becomes understanding what it is trying to tell you.  Unfortunately, our bodies don’t come with Google Translate installed, you have to learn to understand on our own.

While understanding may seem difficult at first, the more you listen, ask questions, and test theories, the more you will come to understand and the easier the process will be.

At PuraWell, we highly recommend the Retrospective Health Journal to help you understand what your body is saying.  This journal, even when used over a short time period, like 1-2 weeks, can reveal a lot of secrets for you.  But, using it for a longer time period can be life changing.

So, what’s the journal do?  In a Retrospective Health Journal, you track all of your inputs (food, drink, medications, supplements, etc.), all of your outputs (activities, sleep, special events, exercise), and any of your symptoms to reveal patterns of behavior or response from your body.  Of course, this type of documentation doesn’t have to occur in the Retrospective Health Journal.  Tracking this information in any way is beneficial.  The key is being thorough for a period of time so that you can see all the patterns.

Many of our patients start to identify food sensitivities, harmful activities, and drug interactions that they previously hadn’t noticed.  For example, one patient was able to identify that their bloating always occurred 36 hours after eating dairy.  Based on this information she decided to eliminate dairy from her diet for one month and has never felt better.  Many seemingly unrelated symptoms seemed to disappear as well.

In some cases, it may be difficult for you to be objective enough to evaluate your patterns.  That’s exactly why Dr. Thoma reviews this type of documentation with his patients.  Often the patterns are very clear to him because he is more objective and not emotionally attached to the outcome.

Now that you understand the patterns that are causing your symptoms, you can begin to become aware of the root cause and any underlying concerns you should continue to investigate and resolve.

Accept the message even if you don't like the answer.

I’m just gonna come out and say it, I've been one to ignore the signals my body was sending because I was in denial of the changes it would mean I needed to make. Can you relate? 

Just like it’s hard to see the patterns causing your symptoms because of your emotional attachments, it’s even more difficult to accept that you might need to make a change you don’t want to make.

I will also say this, the symptoms kept getting bigger and more threatening the longer I procrastinated. It actually reminds me of an alarm clock. You can keep pushing the snooze button, but it’s going to keep waking you up until you push the right button to turn it off completely.

Avoiding the inevitable, stalling before you get testing, fighting against new treatments, and even ignoring your symptoms all together is not going to help you feel better and live longer.  Everyone knows the earlier you resolve a problem, the easier it is to resolve.

We only have one life to live, and do overs aren’t included, so let’s pay attention to the signals our body sends, even if we don't like what they are telling us.  Because only when we listen, understand, and accept the symptoms for what they are can we take the right action to resolve the underlying conditions.

Act on it the lessons you have learned.

You have heard the messages your body is sending, you understand what it’s trying to tell you, and you’ve accepted that something needs to happen, now is the time to take action.  Not just any action though, it’s time to use the information you have gathered to make the appropriate changes to your diet, lifestyle, habits, or whatever, in order to start making positive changes in your health.

Action isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it. 

Do you remember “Let’s Make a Deal”? It was a show all about asking contestants to consider parting with some lovely prize, in order to try their luck at something better “behind door number two.”

It’s easy to stick with the thing you know, just because you know it, without ever taking a chance at something better.

You might believe you're taking all the right steps to optimize your health., but you might have no idea how next level it could be if you just enlisted the help of a pro.  That’s where we come in!  

Keep following PuraWell to hear more about interpreting the signals your body sends, and taking action to feel better and live longer, healthier.