This may be hard to believe, but as a doctor I've seen many patients with beautiful, young, so-called perfect bodies who never listen to them. They are too worried to know what their bodies are actually saying. They are too wrapped up in body image and the whole scam about being perfect. Ironically, their bodies are all in their heads.

Your body and mind are meant to be a whole, and to ensure that they are, your whole existence is based on feedback loops. Body listens to mind; mind listens to body. Awareness is the link. Make no mistake: Every cell knows when you are unhappy, anxious or stressed. A cell's awareness is expressed in chemical reactions instead of words. No matter. The message comes through loud and clear.

Last week, we applied this to eating. Problems with diet, weight and body image begin in the mind, but as the body carries out the bad messages coming from the mind, it begins to mirror those messages and the beliefs that lie behind them. That's why supermodels often get no happiness from their physical "perfection." Indeed, the better their bodies look, the more obvious it is to them that they don't deserve to have such a body or that it will betray them.

Let's broaden the topic this week. What can you do to start listening to your body? The most basic elements are as follows:

Feel what you feel. Don't talk yourself into denial.

Accept what you feel. Don't judge what's actually there.

Be open to your body. It's always speaking. Be willing to listen.

Trust your body. Every cell is on your side, which means you have hundreds of billions of allies.

Value spontaneity. Emotions change, cells change, the brain changes. Don't be the policeman who stops the river of change by blocking it with frozen, fixed beliefs.

Enjoy what your body wants to do. Bodies like to rest, but they also like to be active. Bodies like different kinds of food that are eaten with enjoyment. Bodies like sex and pleasure in general.

What part does spirituality play in listening to your body?


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