By: Erin Treloar
What if I told you those cravings that are haunting you or that stomach ache or your out-of-control eating habits are actually a really good thing?
When we are in pain, craving things we wish we wouldn’t (hello chocolate, sugar and caffeine) or finding it hard to break unhealthy cycles like overeating or negative self talk it’s really hard not to get frustrated with our body. It feels like we’re not in control and thoughts like, “If only I wasn’t so…” or “why can’t I be more like…” or “I hate that I feel this way.” start to sneak in.
The symptoms, cravings and behaviours you are experiencing all have a positive intention for you. They’re not bad at all and in fact, they’re just trying to help you even if it doesn’t feel like they are. They are simply messengers telling you that your current way of living is no longer working for your mind/body/soul. Something is out of alignment and they are asking for change. Most of the time we blame the symptom. We feel like binge eating is the problem or the migraine is the issue. We try to fix these things with medication or diet pills or we make ourselves feel better temporarily by shopping or watching hours of Netflix and numbing out. When we try to fix the symptom we never address the root of the problem and as a result the symptom keeps presenting itself and often times it gets worse. Cravings, pain, unhealthy behaviours are just the best solution your body can come up with to ask you for help or to ensure you survive in your current state.
When I was struggling with disordered eating, I felt like restrictive eating and overeating were the problems. What I didn’t understand at the time, was that they weren’t the issue, but rather my body’s way of sending a message that my current way of operating wasn’t working. I tried to rid myself of them by exercising, taking diet pills, staying super busy and going on strict diet plans but nothing worked because the symptoms weren’t the problem. I needed to make shifts in my lifestyle and mindset if I wanted lasting change. When I finally went to work on dealing with the underlying stuff is when I finally let go of disordered eating.
A stomach ache is another example of a symptom that has a positive intention for you. The ache is a symptom of an underlying problem like a food sensitivity, or stress or perhaps something that you can’t stomach in your life. Or maybe it’s something simple like eating too fast. There could be all kinds of reasons that the stomach ache is happening, but the stomach ache itself is not the problem. It’s the messenger saying, ‘‘Hey, there is a problem here, and the best I can do right now is ache, but if you explore a little and give this some attention, there is probably a better solution.’’
When we accept that symptoms, cravings, and behaviours have a positive intention for us we’re able to be more gentle with ourselves. This small mindset shift alone can help the feelings dissipate and at the very least it can quiet negative self talk surrounding the symptom immediately. Understanding this will also encourage you to look deeper so that you are able to truly heal.
Below are some ways our body asks us to listen with a positive intention of keeping you healthy and happy:
- Disordered eating
- Skin breakouts
- Numbing activities – extreme TV/social media consumption, alcohol/drug abuse
What symptoms, behaviours or cravings have you categorized as bad that could just have a positive intention for you?
Remember : Your body is on your team! When we learn to listen to it, life starts to flow.
Here’s me last week after 3 rounds of the flu and Shingles. My body was sending me a clear strong message that it needed me to slow down and rest. The flu and Shingles didn’t feel great but they had a positive message. I made changes to my schedule so that I could listen to them before the symptoms got louder.
Listening to my body – doing what it needs. Anxiety gone, sleeping more (still feeling a bit tired but not so wired) and sick-free for 2 weeks!