I have decided to dedicate a post on Thursday to therapy, and offer you the many tips I have learned on the couch. They will be a good reminder for me, as well, of something small I can concentrate on. Many of them are published in my book, “The Pocket Therapist: An Emotional Survival Kit.”
I interpret bad reports from my endocrinologist, cardiologist, and psychiatrist as signs.
That I’m not doing something right, or taking enough breaks for myself.
Here are a few signs I see regularly: Stop; Slow Down; Proceed Cautiously or Not at All; Look for Children, Especially Yours; Caution: Judgmental Relative Ahead; Danger: Trust Me on This One, You Don’t Want to Go There; I Said Stay Out! Are you Deaf?; Annoying Mother Onboard; Enter If You Want More Stress In Your Life.
The Wall Street Journal just ran an astute piece by Health Journal columnist Melinda Beck about why it’s so important that we listen to what our bodies are telling us. Melinda writes: “The body speaks volumes about what ails it – from obvious warnings like a fever that accompanies an infection to subtle clues like losing hair on the toes, which can be an early sign of vascular disease.”
It’s taken me a l-o-n-g time, approximately 15,000 days, to learn this important lesson. Now I no longer ignore the heart palpitations. It means I need to chill the hell out. If my fingers and toes and lips turn purple as they often do with Raynaud’s phenomenon, I consider my stress level. And if my sleep is interrupted for too many nights, I start making changes to my daily routine so that I don’t have to drink five large cups of espresso to stay awake.
Moreover, I imagine my living organs as good buddies of mine taking a road trip with me. Every half hour or so, I’ll ask them (my brain, heart, liver): “You guys okay? Anyone need to stop for awhile and get some rest? Or am I free to crank out a few books, an iPhone application, a few different blogs, and possibly a radio show?
If they start throwing tantrums like my kids, I know it’s time to slow down or hit a rest station. Or to start paying better attention to the signs in my life.