Symptoms are our body’s way of telling us something is wrong, that self-regulation has been lost and the system is attempting to rebalance.
As such they can be extremely useful to us as they can indicate that maybe we are doing something wrong – there’s something we need to stop doing, start doing, or change in order for our precious equilibrium that keeps us healthy to work as well as it can.
But are all symptoms an issue? When is a ‘symptom’ not a symptom?
Well, to put it simply, a symptom is not a symptom, in the sense of it being a problem, when it is actually just the body doing its thing.
Confused? Let me explain what I mean…..
Your body is continually in a state of rebalancing as it adjusts to the ever changing environment both externally and internally.
The body’s attempt to maintain good health is, in fact, a little like riding a bike. It feels like you’re going along straight and steady but in fact you are continually going off balance and rebalancing – you just don’t feel or notice it that much. So you shiver when you’re cold and sweat when you’re too hot as the body adjusts to maintain its ideal temperature, you feel sleepy when you need to rest, and your muscles ache a little when you’ve over exercised and the fibres need to recover.
However, over the years we have been encouraged, to a degree, to look at all symptoms as an issue,
that the slightest imbalance needs to be addressed straight away, or actually suppressed, so we don’t feel it anymore. And then of course we all have our own ideas about what is ‘normal’ with regards to our health, and therefore which symptoms should be addressed and which are ignored. So, for instance, getting too warm from time to time isn’t an issue for one person but a major worry for another.
But why is any of this a problem?
Surely it’s better to take note of symptoms, and do something about them, than just dismiss them as they can be a real warning of bigger problems to come?
Well of course you should never ignore persistent, unpleasant symptoms but as noted above is everything we may consider to be a symptom really a problem? Are some of those symptoms just the body doing its thing, in other words, healing itself, something it is well designed to do given the right conditions?
Could the interference from us, and worse still our attempts to suppress these natural balancing processes, actually be making things worse, not to mention the raised stress and anxiety levels that come from continually scanning our bodies for signs of problems then having to take urgent action.
So are you getting in your own way when it comes to your body healing?
Could you be doing too much and interfering too quickly? And how to distinguish between those things your body is just doing and should be allowed to do, and those that need your attention?
Well the answer may seem almost too simple to be true but a lot of it comes down to plain and simple common sense, something that we can easily and understandably lose a little when we are over anxious about what’s going on.
If you find yourself in a state of rising panic the next time you notice something you think may be a symptom just take a moment to stop, breathe and clear your head then ask yourself a few simple questions:
- Is this a symptom that is starting to occur regularly or is it just a one off? Regular symptoms may be a sign of a growing problem whereas one off disturbances generally aren’t.
- Could it potentially fall into the category of the body self healing (a slight sniffle to clear a cold, for example)? If so then either leave it to take its course or give it some gentle support. If the symptom worsens you can always take further action then if required
- Is it very acute, creating a lot of pain, or has a sense of ‘urgency’ about it? If so then follow your instincts and take action as this is more likely to be something that needs attention.
From a clearer state of mind you’ll take a much more objective view of what’s going on, and more than likely instinctively know the right action to take!
And of course in cases of emergency always seek medical assistance immediately.