Healthy Living

Tips to Get to Know Your Body Better

One of the easiest ways to improve your health is to get to know your body better. Becoming more aware of your body’s needs can help you catch changes and identify when you need to seek medical attention.

But for many people, there are barriers that prevent them from truly knowing their body. For example, lack of time or a packed schedule can get in the way. When people need to juggle family, work and social obligations, focusing on their own needs may take a back seat.

Cultural and social norms may also come into play. In some cultures, it’s considered taboo to talk about health or things that are related to your body. This can lead to misinformation about improving your health.

Fortunately, there are several ways you can get to know your body better. Trying even a couple of items on this list can help:

  • Keep a journal – Paying attention to your senses and listening to your body is important. Start a daily or weekly journal to track how you feel physically and emotionally. You may find you start to see patterns that provide insight into factors that affect how you feel.
  • Learn how different foods affect your body – If you notice physical symptoms, such as feeling tired or bloated after eating, food may be to blame. If you’re able to identify which foods cause you to feel bad, consider eliminating them from your diet.
  • Find out if you have any allergies – You don’t need to suffer through food or environmental allergies. Your primary care provider can refer you to an allergist to get tested for various food and environmental factors and provide treatment that can help you feel better.
  • Get regular exerciseExercise is important for a few reasons. It improves your physical health, strengthens muscles and bones and boosts cardiovascular health. It may also reduce your risk for chronic diseases. As an added benefit, exercise gives your mental health a lift by releasing endorphins that can help increase cognitive ability and put you in a good mood.
  • Understand how much rest you need – Most adults need eight to nine hours of sleep per day. For the most conducive sleep environment, keep your room cool and dark. It’s also a good idea to avoid caffeine and eating a heavy meal before bedtime. Finally, keep electronic devices, like your phone, away from where you sleep.
  • Practice meditation – During meditation, the focus is on you and being in the moment. Taking the time to meditate for five to ten minutes a day will help boost concentration and happiness and improve your overall wellbeing.
  • Master deep breathing – Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lay down, close your eyes and begin taking slow deep breaths. Practice deep breathing for a few minutes at a time, several times a day to help relieve stress and tension. The more you practice, the more in tune you’ll be with your body.
  • Get in touch with your sexuality – When you’re in tune with who you are as a sexual being, you’ll discover a new sense of freedom. Give yourself permission to explore your body and your needs. Being comfortable with your body will help you have better understanding about your health and wellbeing.

Your primary care provider is a great resource for getting to know your body better. To learn more about primary care at NorthShore – Edward-Elmhurst Health, visit us online or call 847-866-3700.