Updated: Apr 11, 2021
When to follow our urges and when to let them be... That's a question we so often have right?
Did you know that not honoring the natural urges of the body can cause illness and disease?
Take the example of a pro-athlete. When an athlete is continuously training on the edge of his ability, the body sees this as a constant state of stress. Not giving the body enough rest to recuperate will cause injuries. The body is designed in a way that it will always tell us what it wants or needs. It is essential to honor the sign. A simple thing as needing to pee is your body's way of telling you that your bladder is full. If we don't follow up on this sign, the body will feel constant tension in the bladder and will keep giving the signal that the urine needs to go out. If we continuously
let our body in this state of stress in the long run, this can cause all kinds of problems in the bladder and urinary tract. So listening to what your body is telling you is key.
Do illness and disease develop when not resisting the urges of the mind?
A bit more difficult is to differentiate the urges of the body from the urges of the mind. The mind is the one I like to think of as "being overenthusiastic." It is not always telling us the truth, and it is up to us to realize this and resist it. The mind wants to be satisfied, and as a little kid, if you give in, it will remember. The urges will come back, sometimes without us even realizing it. To make it a bit more logical, I'll give you an example of one of my clients.
My client came to me because she had extremely painful swollen breasts during her menstruation. Apart from that, she always felt sad and wanted to cry. After talking to her, we concluded that she felt the urge to eat whenever something happened that was out of her control—mostly sweet snacks. Together we figured out that when she was younger, her mother would give her chocolate every time something happened that made her feel upset. The mind remembered this, and throughout her life, every time something happened, the mind would be telling her, "just grab a piece of chocolate, and everything will be okay". Did she feel better? Yes, but only for about 5 minutes. When we came to this conclusion and she stopped emotional snacking and even snacking completely between meals she not only felt better during the day but the swollen breasts during her period went away.
But how do you figure out whether it is your body giving you signals or your mind?? Deep down, we know. An easy and quick method is to simply ask yourself, do I really need this right now? Am I really hungry? You will know the answer. Ask yourself, make a decision, And then let it go. Always remember that like attracts like, so too much of anything is never helpful and most likely even harmful. Here are some extra examples:
𝗡𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝘂𝗿𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗼𝗱𝘆:
Peeing, pooping, burping, vomiting
Yawning, sneezing, coughing, tears
Breath (heavily), sleeping
𝗨𝗿𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗲 𝘀𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗻 𝘁𝗼 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗶𝘁𝘀:
Food cravings (sugar, salty, binging)
Using food to soothe pain
Eating when you are not truly hungry
A simple trick that you can start implementing when struggling with urges of the mind, is to take a step back and focus on your breathing. The mind will then naturally move to something else.
Not sure whether your body is intuitively telling you that it is struggling with deficiencies? Then pick a healthy version. For example if you crave a bag of chips and wonder whether you have a salt deficiency then add a strip of kombu to your meal if the craving then goes away you will know that it most likely was a salt deficiency. If it doesn’t go away it’s a craving of the mind.
So in the end it is important not only to follow the urges of our body but also to resist the urges of the mind. Like the tips written above it doesn't have to be hard. Be kind to yourself, your body and mind will thank you for it.