It’s not new for cars to warn us about possible issues. Even base model cars have MIL – the malfunction indicator lamp also known as check engine light. Cars also come standard with things like an odometer, speedometer, and a fuel indicator, which are incredibly handy and help circumvent some seriously inconvenient moments!
These days’ cars are also loaded with all kinds of new features to help you avoid potential accidents. Things like BSW – blind spot warning, FSW – forward collision warning, LDW – lane departure warning and rear-cross traffic warning. Newer cars are able to alert you both visually and audibly to potentially dangerous situations which is nice. Some even have the ability to brake and correct your steering, just in case you miss the warning.
God set up warning systems long before car manufactures did. Yep! He created your incredibly complex body to alert you to potentially dangerous situations. Of course, we have to pay attention to the warnings – which are often overlooked when you are juggling numerous responsibilities and attempting to navigate today’s fast paced life.
For example, stress comes with warning signs. That’s why you get a headache, tight shoulders, or experience insomnia. Your body is trying to communicate something to you. The trouble is that you often dismiss the warning signs and keep on trucking. That’s not good!
What if you took the time to understand the thoughts, beliefs, and feelings that are resulting in stress and then made adjustments in light of what you discovered?
I’ve previously suggested ways to combat stress and even why you might be addicted to stress. Perhaps the more important issue is tuning in to the fact that you are stressed in the first place. In an effort to press on, meet goals, and be successful are you overlooking the warning signs?
All those aches and pains, gut issues, skin issues –even reseeding gums, and so much more are all your body’s attempt to let you know that something is out of whack; there is something you need to deal with!
God knew what He was doing – there’s a very real connection between the mind and body. Did you know that…
- Emotions & feelings reveal themselves in physical ways
- Unprocessed emotions tax your immune system and leave you vulnerable to disease
- Fear, stress, and anxiety are at the root of many autoimmune diseases
- Un-forgiveness and resentment negatively affect your health
- Complaining and thinking negative thoughts impact your body’s ability to heal
- Relational issues between God, yourself (not loving or accepting yourself), and others hinders healing
- Words are powerful; self-talk and how you talk to others is either a blessing or a curse.
- Fear is behind issues with your brain, central nervous system, heart rhythm, skin, hair, eyes, and nose
- Guilt leads to issues with bone marrow, lymph glands, muscular and skeletal systems, and the kidneys
- Shame shows up with problems in the liver, lungs, intestines, and the endocrine system
- You can do all the “right” things medically and still not heal if the underlying emotional and spiritual issues aren’t addressed
It’s normal to experience a little stress here and there or to have an ache or pain now and then. However, ignoring what your body is attempting to show you on an ongoing basis can be as detrimental as ignoring your car’s warning signals.
Leading at your best occurs when you are healthy and relaxed, but that doesn’t just happen. Nope! You have to make choices that lead to health and relaxation and pay attention to the warning messages your body is sending you. After all, if your check engine light came on you would take it to a mechanic, right? Aren’t you worth more than your car?
It’s about leading yourself well, and leading yourself in a way that honors all of you – not just the work you! After all, you are an integrated creature. That’s why it is so important to be aware of what you are thinking, feeling, and doing in all facets of your life: spiritually, emotionally, physically, intellectually, financially, relationally, as well as work and leisure. When you neglect one area of your life, the other areas suffer too.
So what can you do to increase your awareness, tune into your emotions, and click in to what your body is telling you?
1. Take breaks & vacations
I have run into several people lately who don’t take vacations or enjoy time off work. I get that they love, love, love their job, but that’s not healthy! Your ability to perform at work benefits from taking vacations. I know for me, taking a vacation allows me to step away from my life and work in a way that allows me to be much more objective. Typically I come back from a vacation ready to implement some sort of change for the better.
And working 24/7 doesn’t just make us dull; it also takes a toll on our health!
When was the last time you got away? How often do you take breaks during your day or during your week?
2. Develop a habit of self-reflection
Make time to check in with yourself. You might incorporate a time of self-reflection as a part of your alone time with God or at the end of the day as you reflect back over the events of your day. Pick a time that works for you and make it a habit to check in with yourself around what you are thinking, feeling, and experiencing. Use that time to notice any warning signs that might be attempting to get your attention.
There is no right way to journal. You can be creative and sketch your journal entries, go free form and let your thoughts and feelings spill out onto the page, or you can be more structured using the bullet journal method. Maybe you prefer prompts or questions – you might even want to consider a few of the questions I recently suggested here.
4. Practice solitude
For some, time alone is a welcome thing. For others, it’s torture. Either way, solitude is a wonderful way to tap into your thoughts and feelings and reconnect with you and with God if you wish. When we let God, He’s more than willing to highlight how unconditional and big His love is for you, and the ways we need His help to better align with our identity in Him.
5. Work with a coach
Coaches are skilled at asking questions that help you uncover the underlying thoughts and feelings that are driving your actions. And a coach who understands the mind-body connection can help you get to the heart of what’s behind your physical issues so that you can heal and lead more effectively. Tired of being held back because of physical issues? Ready to move forward? Perhaps it’s time to enlist the help of a coach.
Just a note – if you want to look back and work through the emotions of the past that’s a good thing! It’s the perfect job for a counselor, therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist.
6. Initiate a 360-degree assessment
We all have blind spots. Initiating a 360-degree assessment is one way to increase your awareness and pinpoint the skills and behaviors you need to address, as well as the areas where you excel. The process includes a self-evaluation and feedback from your subordinates, peers (colleagues), and supervisor(s).
7. Take a personality assessment
Having expectations for yourself that are not in keeping with who God creates inner funkiness and confusion – dis-ease. It becomes a whole lot easier to have realistic expectations when you are clear on the unique person God created you to be. Learn more about the DiSC assessment here.
Even older cars have ways to keep tabs on speed, fuel levels, and mileage. At bare minimum, doesn’t it make sense to be mindful of how fast you are doing life and whether or not you have sufficient energy to keep going? Maybe it’s time to upgrade your warning systems.
How would you benefit if you were more tuned in to the warning signals your body was sending you?
© Can Stock Photo / smarques27