We’ve all had a headache before. You wake up in the morning, head throbbing. But what is your next step? Do you take an ibuprofen to make it through the day? Do you drink a glass of water and rest more? Or maybe you go about your day and power through it. No matter what, you really just want the pain to go away. But have you ever asked yourself, “Why am I having this headache? What caused it in the first place? What purpose does this headache serve?”
I know. That sounds like insanity, but hear me out. Every symptom that your body expresses is your body’s way of communicating to you. Pain serves to let you know that something in your body needs tending to. Symptoms are red flags to let you know something concerning is going on.
Let’s reconsider that headache.
What if you had one two many glasses of wine and your headache is your body notifying you that you are severely dehydrated and need water—now? What if your headache is a sign that your blood pressure is high and that in turn you need to make some dietary and lifestyle changes? What if you headache is letting you know that something is causing pressure inside your skull, and needs to be addressed? Imagine listening to that headache instead of only suppressing it. Imagine paying attention to your headache, finding the cause, and then addressing it. Imagine the strides you could make in your overall health and wellness.
This is why I stray away from the term symptom and the idea that symptoms are bad. Your body does every single thing with purpose. From headaches and back pain, to fevers and runny noses; they all are secondary expressions to something else going on. But so many times, we focus simply on removing the symptom, instead of addressing the cause. In an attempt to shift from that perspective, I use the term EXPRESSION. Your body is constantly and intelligently expressing life.
A fever is an intentional response to naturally heat your body to a temperature at which foreign bacteria cannot survive. Maybe we shouldn't dampen that if it isn’t dangerously high.
A runny nose is an intentional way of your body trapping and physically removing foreign microbes. Maybe we should allow that process instead of stopping it and allowing those microbes to harbor inside of us.
A sharp pain is an intentional way of your body telling you that moving that way could cause further physical damage to your body and is a way to guard that area from further harm. Simply turning off that pain signal without addressing the problem can lead to further problems down the road.
I could go on and on with examples.
While these expressions may not be fun, we should always take the time to listen to them, before simply dampening them. There is a time and place for controlling expression, but western society tends to do it excessively. We should always appreciate our expressions, because the presence of them actually lets us know our body is communicating properly with us. The presence of EXPRESSION directs us to the true area of concern. We emphasize that this your body’s way of doing something right as opposed to damning it for doing something wrong.
I encourage you to embrace EXPRESSION, love your body, and listen to your innate.