Transcript from a video blog- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7aJYfhE3vo
As you can probably hear in this video I am slightly nasally and congested, and I thought this would be the perfect time, since I am experiencing them, to talk about symptoms, what they really mean and how they can really improve our health and wellbeing.
Now, our current trend, or our current healthcare model says that when we have a symptom success is- let’s treat the symptom, reduce it, eliminate it or get rid of it so that you can go back to life as normal. Now, if that symptom is a heart attack, then that approach is lifesaving. If that symptom is something where you are in a life or death state then it makes complete sense. Reduce the symptom, let your body get back to a state where it can recover so that you can live. When it comes to quality of life, when it comes to headaches, neck pains, back pains, arm pains, colds, just not quite feeling right, feeling like something is off, that approach in our experience doesn’t let people get any wisdom, get any meaning and therefore any fuel to really improve their life.
So at Thrive, my personal and my clinical experience, what we’ve found is that symptoms are really trying to tell us “stop what you are doing!” Now, let me be completely honest with you here, none of us like this, I certainly don’t! I don’t like a symptom coming along interrupting my life, I like my life to go the way I like it to go and I think it’s fair to say a lot of us do. We like knowing we can continue, I can get up I can move around , I can do the things I want to get done or I feel I need to get done or I should get done today.
So, the first thing symptoms do, is they interrupt us, they say “STOP what you are doing!”, something’s off. As annoying and frustrating as that can be, that really allows us to pay attention to our body, pay attention to our life, our mind, our emotions, what’s going on around us, take an inventory and really start to assess what is working and what isn’t working. The wonderful thing with that is sometimes there is not necessarily a massive change, like you have to change your job or you have to change your relationships. Sometimes we do, but more often than not it’s how you are doing those things, how you are showing up, how you are conducting yourself, where your boundaries are, what you’re allowing to happen, what you are not allowing to happen, how much you’re contributing or not etcetera. More often the not the changes are how we do what we do, not just what we do. Ultimately, once we’ve stopped, paid attention, we can put a change in place. My experiences personally and clinically, and there is some research (I will put some notes under the video if you wold like to read that), that allows us to have a disease of meaning, that researchers call ‘a disease of meaning’, where we can learn something about our health, our life, put a change in place that actually improves our quality of life. So my assertion here, is that if you allow yourself to stop, pay attention, make changes, and of course that can include whatever treatment or diagnosis you think is fair or you think best serves you right now for whatever condition you are in, if you also include the idea that you can pay attention and make some changes, I found that people’s quality of life can improve.
I found that approach is what leads people eventually to say “I’m really glad that symptom happened because it allowed to make xyz changes”. At the time when those interruptions happened, as I said it’s very rare that someone says “I’m so thrilled this cold is interrupting my life”, but once they’ve put those changes in place, once they have recognised “oh my goodness my body has just given me feedback, it’s saying pay attention!”, a bit like a hand on a hot place, it’s just hurting so that I can notice what I’m doing, change and preserve myself and enjoy my health and life.
Once we get the idea that our bodies isn’t doing anything to us, it’s more trying to communicate with us and for us, then our symptoms really become a vehicle, when we put changes in place, for our health and our quality of life to improve.
As ever, if you have questions or comments please do get in touch with us. I’ll do my best to get back in touch with you. I hope you have enjoyed this video, share it if you find it useful. I look forward to talking with you again soon.