Originally, I started this post geared towards headache-prevention and my thoughts as to what could be its various causes. For some reason I always get the headache question from my friends – hey, I’ve had a headache all day and I don’t know why so I figured to ask you - and most of the time it just requires a small effort on their end to reflect, gain perspective, and put the pieces together themselves. Headaches (amongst other dis-eases) are always the symptom to a greater cause: they just don’t happen, there’s a reason why they occur and it’s good to pay attention because your body is trying to tell you something important. So, as I got more involved with writing I realized that my perspectives and suggestions are really geared towards all types of “symptoms” – headaches, stomach aches, sleeplessness, restless leg, fatigue, swelling, muscle spasms, constipation, weight gain, muscle loss, dizziness, fainting, brain fog, forgetfulness, etc. – and that a universal post would make more sense.
Of course, it’s better to take the steps to prevent symptoms before they occur (awareness, priorities, responsibility), but sometimes it takes the experience of discomfort to help put comfort into perspective and how it can be achieved. Below are a few simple thoughts as to what could be causing various “dis-eases”…
- Hydration is usually my first thought: What/how much have you had to drink today/in the past few days? Were you dehydrated a few days ago and never caught up? How frequently do you urinate? What color was your urine? Dark yellow urine = dehydrated. Clear urine = over-hydration. Light yellow = hydrated. Do you consume Salt regularly or do you limit its intake? Dietary Salt can provide potassium and magnesium; all three are big factors in hydration and cellular function (add salt to drinks or food). Epsom Salt baths can also provide hydration through skin absorption (just make sure they’re not overwhelmingly hot and long because that situation can create a stress hormone reaction, encourage hypoglycemia and use up all stored sugar = light headed, dizzy, faintness, shaky hands, muscle atrophy, cortisol/adrenaline rush).
- Nutrition is next: What/how much have you eaten today or in the past few days? Are you eating proper meals or just picking on things? I come across many people who don’t eat breakfast or will “forget” to eat dinner the previous night or may go a whole day without eating because they were “busy.” My thought: What fuel does the body to be busy, to operate, to expend and create energy? Food! Make time or get into the habit of putting it on your daily schedule. Yeah, it’s important to eat the right food, in the right ratio and at the right time but for energy’s sake just make sure that you’re providing yourself with some calories.
- Sleep: How much have you slept in the past few days? Did you experience a restful night’s sleep or was it tossing, turning, and waking up intermittently? Ok, so sleeping is one thing, sleeping enough is another, sleeping at the right times is next, and sleeping well ties it all together. Hydration and nutrition affect sleeping patterns, too: dehydration or malnourishment (not enough caloric energy) can disrupt sleeping patterns because the body also needs energy to rest effectively. I’d like to see people take sleep more seriously and not just write it off as a lazy-man’s game.
- Exercise: How much and how often do you exercise? Are you overtraining? Are you staying hydrated, nourished, and sleep enough (all energy input) to compliment your energy output? Exercise is a major stressor on the body – it breaks down muscle and depletes energy. Without a complimentary diet and lifestyle, exercise can be an extremely hindering activity in achieving health.
- Digestion: Are your bowel movements like clockwork? Do you go regularly (1-3x daily) and eliminate fully? Are they healthy BM’s? Do you experience bloating, gas, fatigue, or mood swings after eating certain foods? It is important to eat right. It is even more important that you are able to digest, utilize, and eliminate food properly. What good does food do if the body cannot even absorb it or if it becomes “stuck” within the intestinal tract? You are what you eat. You are what you digest and absorb. You are what you don’t eliminate.
- Posture: Do you sit up straight? Do you look down when you walk? Are you shoulders rounded? Is your spine straight? Does your neck align with your back to align with your pelvis? Do you wear restricting clothing that doesn’t allow for proper movement or circulation? Posture is important for all bodily functions: breathing, thinking, drinking, eating, digestion, eliminating, moving, and sleeping. Any sort of imbalance or “kink” can throw one or more things off and can cause the body to find other round-about ways to function.
- Mental/Emotional Stressors: What’s on your mind lately? Do you have work, school, family, social, relationship, or self-image on your mind? Are you happy? The mind-body connection is real and it’s an important factor. Non-physical stress can very well lead to physical dis-ease.
So, those are some of my thoughts without going too in depth or in great detail as to what may be the “simple” causes to many of life’s unhealthy symptoms. Bring some awareness into your thoughts simply by taking perspective and reflecting on the symptoms to find the underlying cause. We all know why our body may be out of balance, in pain, tired, aching, or sore. It is a matter of looking within to find the answer from self.
The answer is within the question.