Becoming Your Own Health Hero
There is so much focus out there on being healthy. We get inundated with information about what to eat, how to exercise, what mindfulness practice we should do, and so on. All these things point to an underlying notion that there is some ideal state of perfect health and that you can achieve it if you just do this, eat this, or work out like this. But what does it really mean to be healthy?
And what if there were no perfect, ideal state of health?
What if true wellness is more of a dynamic process, than an end goal?
There is an empowering reframing that can happen when you think of wellness as a process of self-discovery, rather than a goal.
I call this becoming your own health hero.
Becoming your own health hero is a way of being. It’s a process of settling into the body and mind–a way of being with yourself, as you are. From there you can reframe your experience in your body and deepen your ability to live in it with ease.
You live with an understanding that your journey to wellness is not a straight line from point A to point B. But rather, it is a circuitous adventure with highs and lows, good days and bad, and feelings of discomfort and pleasure that ebb and flow. Through the process though, there is a deepening understanding of the true needs of your body and mind, the ways in which you can best nourish yourself, and an increased resilience to stress, and capacity for enjoyment and engagement in life.
Let’s explore some of the characteristics of the health hero.
The health hero views symptoms as messages.
The human body and mind have an innate self-healing ability. (In my practice I call it Organic Intelligence®. The term comes from the work of my mentor, Steve Hoskinson.)
In big and small ways the body is always looking to come into a state of equilibrium, or homeostasis.
Symptoms, like headaches, fatigue, or a belly ache, are the body’s way of expressing itself as it manages various stressors and works towards that homeostasis, that balance. With a nuanced look into your life, your stressors, and your physiology, you can learn to understand and decode symptoms–these messages from the body. This provides clarity and motivation for the lifestyle shifts that then best support freedom from your symptoms, and deep nuanced nourishment of your body and mind.
But even more importantly this reframing invites self-compassion, and trust in yourself and your body.
Health challenges like IBS, thyroid problems, or chronic pain can feel scary, like the body is out of control and there’s no way to stop it. When you step back a little though, and say, “Okay, these symptoms suck, but I’m willing to hold them in a space of acceptance, because I know my body is trying to tell me something,” it shifts things a little. It’s a moment of trusting your body again, and it allows room for some self-love.
And when you experience that shift in perspective, that greater sense of acceptance and trust, it gives you a little breathing room. A little more space to be able to change your focus.
Instead of mainly focusing on what’s wrong, you are freed up to notice more of what might be going well, what feels good in your life, in your day, in your body, in your moment. You can notice it. Be with it. Take in the good of it.
This might sound like a small thing, but in fact it is a powerful rewiring of your nervous system. Regularly experiencing this taking in the good practice can shift you out of a fight or flight stress physiology and into one of rest and digest, recovery, and repair.
This is key in igniting your innate self-healing ability.
And, it feels good! It invites more more ease and relaxation into your life–even if and while you are dealing with health challenges. In this way you are developing a capacity to be with yourself as you are–the good stuff, the difficult stuff, all of it, all of you–without overwhelm.
By loosening the grip of focusing on what’s wrong, and giving more attention to the goodness and pleasure that’s showing up in your life and body, you are inviting in a wellness approach to your health. This is different than the disease or pathology model of conventional medicine. It is starting with a premise of basic wellness. You are trusting in your own human body, its ability to heal and its ability to come into healthy homeostasis.
To sum things up, here are some of the working principles of becoming your own health hero:
Viewing symptoms as messages from the body.
Trusting in yourself, your body and your self-healing capacity.
Practicing taking in the good. Embracing positive feelings, moments and experiences to support the “rest and digest” parasympathetic nervous system, essential for repair in the body, freedom from symptoms, and recovery from health challenges.
So, being healthy doesn’t mean achieving some kind of idealized state of perfection. It’s a way of being. A way of being with yourself and your body as you are, getting curious about the messages your body has for you and trusting in its ability to come back into balance. The foods, supplements, medicines, exercise and mindfulness practices that help you to find freedom from symptoms, and resolution of health challenges, are discovered and adopted by you through this health hero perspective. Rather than searching for the next magic pill, health food or doctor, you become the authority on your own health. You are in a dynamic conversation with your body–listening, feeling and learning–so being healthy becomes a flowing process of vital self-awareness and trust.
Are you ready to begin your hero’s journey? You can start right now by asking yourself, what made sense to you in this article?
Take a moment to contemplate the ideas presented, and notice what resonates, what feels good about them to you.
Notice that good feeling, and be with it–soak it in for a few moments.
And then notice how you feel. Maybe a little more relaxed. Maybe a little more at ease, present in the moment, and in yourself. Welcome to your journey, the journey of being your own health hero!
My favorite thing to do is to provide guidance and support for you along the journey. I use some pretty cool tools like holistic lab tests and anti-inflammatory diets to help decode the messages that symptoms are bringing. From there we can experiment and explore the nutrition and lifestyle plans that are most supportive for your system. This “health detective” work is done though, with the health hero perspective as a foundation, so rather than me telling you how to be healthy, we explore together. I’m there as a guide, helping you learn to tune into your body’s wisdom. If you’d like to learn more about this empowering process, book a Discovery Session with me today.
Andrea Nakayama: the health hero concept and the understanding that wellness is not a straight line from point A to B.
Steve Hoskinson: Organic Intelligence®
Dr. Rick Hanson: Taking in the good practice