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How To Achieve Enduring Health and Vitality
John W. Travis, M.D. & Regina Sara Ryan
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Body Awareness

Twenty-four hours a day, throughout your entire life, you make use of your body's built-in feedback system. Too hot - take off your coat. Too cold - put on a sweater. Hungry - eat. Thirsty - drink. Headache - take a painkiller. These are the easy ones. There are many more, however, that are suppressed or disregarded because you have more important things to do. You are neither ready nor willing to do anything about them. Tired muscles, sore throat, congested head? Swallow a cold capsule and keep on pushing! That knot in your stomach as you walk into the office each morning? Have another cup of coffee and start working! Light up a cigarette and begin coughing? Decide to quit as soon as this project is over! The list of examples goes on and on. This most sensitive machine, the body, is constantly trying to tell you something. It will do its best to keep a molehill from developing into a mountain, but most of us simply will not listen to its messages. We are only too quick to anesthetize pain and alleviate symptoms, forgetting that these are only warning signals, not the real problem. If we are to be well, we need to start listening to the entire body, then providing it with the best conditions possible so that it can continue healing itself. And that is something the body knows how to do. All the medical technology at our disposal does not really cure" anything. Only the body-mind heals itself.

One of the most important principles of wellness is learning to call upon our innate body-trust or self-trust. Consider its opposites - ignorance, shame, fear, neglect, and the tendency to praise or blame something out there for what's happening in here - and you will find the primary components of this kind of trust.

Body-trust means learning about how your body works and at the same time loving and respecting it for the magnificent and powerful creation it is. It means attuning to its signs and signals, both internal and external. It includes listening to yourself to discover what you want to change. Most importantly, body-trust or self-trust involves a new way of thinking based on (1) the knowledge that healing occurs from within, but only when you are ready to be healed, and (2) the realization that patience and compassion are the key attitudes to facilitating that process.

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