We ask each other this question all the time, every day. It has become a rote greeting that has lost its meaning in our busy daily lives. We don’t often stop to listen to the answer, nor even take the time to check in with ourselves to see how we actually are.
No, but really
Our days have become a blur of unceasing activity, whether it’s the busyness of the work week or the overscheduled weekends, we seem to be constantly on the run. Having to be somewhere, for something. Or someone wants something from us - the nurse needs this or your kid needs you to sign that. We feel compelled to get caught up with what little down time there is: scrolling through emails, text messages, news feeds,
Some people come into their physicals with a list and others are just looking to tick off the box. Either way, there’s something about the ritual of slowing down enough to review their sleep and digestion, that seems to trigger more questions. I like to think that my office feels safe enough to shed their armor for a moment. To take a moment to reflect on how they really are feeling in their bodies. Actually.
The first step to optimal health is awareness
We are accustomed to having a stiff upper lip, not allowing ourselves to whine. But there’s a difference between being indifferent/out of touch and choosing to be aware of something that we don’t choose to complain about.
The first step to optimal health is awareness. How are you feeling in your body. Right now. Can you sit quietly for a moment and describe how you are feeling. Tired? Hungry? Too warm or cold? Lonely? Anxious? Or are you feeling really comfortable, pleased, content?
What could be better?
So if you are reading this you presumably have some questions or concerns about your health. Or perhaps you are looking to improve your health or maintain/age gracefully. We all notice things about our bodies from time to time. Sometimes they go away, but sometimes they are kind of stubborn, and it’s hard to know whether or not to worry about them.
It’s a good idea to periodically do a “brain dump” about health concerns, writing them down and grading them helps us to organize and prioritize. I would encourage you to get a sheet of paper and just start writing. Set yourself a timer on your phone and don’t stop writing for 5 minutes. Just pour out all the questions or thoughts.
If you’re not sure where to start, just list out the things that are working well. Are your sleeping okay. How’s your breathing? How’s sex? Maybe you have a list of random health questions like: Is it okay that I eat this? Should I take more vitamins? Different vitamins? As you do this, your brain will automatically begin to generate deeper questions like: What’s that niggling pain when you move your shoulder? Or why do you sometimes feel bloating discomfort in your belly? How much sleep should my daughter/son be getting? How can I prevent myself from getting cancer or dementia?
Score it and figure it out
Now go back through your sheet with a different color pen and score each thought
on a scale of 1-3, with 1 being most important, and 3 being not important. There’s no wrong way to do this. What are you noticing? Any surprises?
The next step is to decide what’s the best way to address these concerns. Some may require you to prioritize seeing a doctor or physiotherapist, or maybe to have a conversation with friends/family members. Or you may choose to do some research on the internet.
Write down potential ways you think you could approach each item. Asking your brain to problem solve allows us to tap into our inner wisdom about what solutions would work best for ourselves. You may not know the answers are, but you can absolutely figure out how to find them. Just tap into your awareness to see what’s there, and give yourself a fighting chance.