Who is your best friend? Your best friend… ever? Are you kind to each other? Offer support and accept each other just the way you are; would do anything for each other? Would you still be best friends if you were judging each other, not listening, giving guilt trips, and ignoring each other? Probably not..
Sadly, that is how we often treat our bodies. Add the deprivation of exercise, sleep and nutrient dense whole foods… yikes! Imagine how your body feels!
Regardless of our negligence, our bodies keep going; they might send us some (or many) warning signals – fatigue, aches & pains, allergies, sleeping & digestion troubles, weight issues, more serious health conditions – but they keep going.
Every cell, organ and body system is equipped with natural self-repair mechanisms. All on their own, without our intervention, these mechanisms kill cancer cells, fight infectious agents, rid the body of toxins, repair broken proteins, regenerates cells, repair tissues, keep coronary arteries open, and send us self-preserving signals of hunger, thirst and necessity to sleep… just to mention a few. Every day, non-stop! That is, of course, if we provide the body with proper nutrients, rest and activity it needs.
The not-so-friendly attitude towards our bodies adds to already high levels of mental, emotional and nutritional stress we experience every day. Of course stress has its place, it is a natural response, and it warns and protects us. However, if the body is forced to constantly function in “fight or flight” mode (parasympathetic nervous system), the self-repair mechanisms don’t kick in. For these self-repair mechanisms to kick in, the sympathetic nervous system, or relaxation, must be activated. We can see how chronic stress directly inhibits self-repair and self-regeneration.
What can we do to support the switch to ‘relaxation’ mode (sympathetic nervous system) and encourage natural self-repair mechanisms?
- Practice gratitude.
- Play with animals.
- Listen to music.
- Express yourself creatively.
- Get a massage, receive a calming and nurturing touch.
Not a bad list! Now we know how to support the switch from “fight or flight” to “relaxation” mode. Let’s ensure our cells get the essential nourishment to allow them to do their job, otherwise the self-repair mechanisms are compromised.
- Choose nutrient dense whole foods and clean water.
- Exercise on a regular basis.
- Get a good night sleep, every night.
This makes processed junk food, skipping workouts and sleep-depriving sound more like a punishment than a reward, doesn’t it? Think of exercise and sleep as essential nutrients your body must have. Let’s also remember that as a good friend, we need to listen to our bodies and pay close attention to warning signals and mild symptoms the body is sending us. It is helpful to keep in mind that the needs of our body change, seasonally, and depend greatly on our physical and mental demands. Perhaps more than anything it is important to
- Acknowledge your body’s uniqueness and individual needs.
Now, find something to be grateful for, hug someone and keep dancing to your favorite tune!
By Zita Resnais-DattiloReferences:
*According to Psychology Today, these are scientifically proven relaxation response activators