Does your energy seem stagnant, your pain never-ending and your stress over silly things is sky-high? You may be wondering: Why am I feeling off? Our first line of defense is to go to the doctor, therapist, or coach because we know that they will make us feel better. They ask questions, evaluate us and then give suggestions to get us back on track.
What if we could ask our own questions, assess ourselves, and find the answers within us? It would help us financially and more importantly, we'd get tuned into ourselves. In my Integrative Physical Therapy practice, I find that these are the questions I ask all my clients to help me tune into them. They're also the same questions I ask myself when I need to figure out what’s up.
1. Why can’t I focus?
Deep breathing fills our lungs to capacity and increases the amount of oxygen entering our bodies. Clarity of the body and mind comes from increased oxygenated blood flowing through you. Clarity turns into focus.
2. Does my body feel dry and itchy?
Our bodies turn water into nutrients our blood can use. Drinking enough water increases blood flow and hydrates all the systems of our bodies. A good target is to drink half your weight in ounces of water. Coffees and teas don't count; they have caffeine, which is actually dehydrating.
3. Do I feel heavy and bloated?
Foods we eat give us energy. So if you aren’t feeling energized and vibrant, then its not the right food for you. Fatty and sugary foods cause our bodies to overuse bile and insulin, which cause fatigue and increases chances of disease in our bodies.
4. Am I tired?
Too little (or too much sleep) causes fatigue. Having a bedtime routine not only increases your energy level and decreases stress, but helps keep energy consistent all day.
5. Do I feel stiff and tender?
When people feel stiffness or pain, they don’t use or touch the area, which causes energy to pool in the area and it becomes stagnant. Stretching and massaging what’s tender and stiff opens up the joints and lengthens the muscles, releasing the stagnant energy.
6. Why does the air feel heavy?
Going for a walk or just stepping outside freshens the air around you and completely energizes you. Walking and cardiovascular activity also increase blood circulation and invigorate your body and mind.
7. How’s my posture?
Good posture stacks all your joints into proper alignment. It also opens up your heart center and takes pressure off the lungs allowing your ribs and chest to expand and let more oxygen in. In turn increasing clarity, confidence and energy. So pull back those shoulders and and activate your abdominals.
8. Am I being hard on myself?
Research proves that self-compassion is the most effective means to well-being. If you’re telling yourself, “I’m always going to be in pain,” or “my pain is never going to go away,” then unfortunately it won’t. Be kind to yourself, especially in times of pain and duress.
9. Is there an unresolved personal dilemma?
Without fail, when a client tells me about an argument with a spouse, or if they are awaiting medical test results, their discomfort and pain increases. Become complete with the issue and if it's out of your control, do your best to be mindful of it.
10. What was work like today?
Stress and anxiety from meetings, sitting in front of the computer, bending forward to clean under your bathroom sink … All these activities increase tension and pain. Counteracting your position can give you a quick release from strain. For example, if you are bending forward all day, try a few back bends and recharge.
11. Did I take my Flintstones?
Well, I am now taking adult vitamins, but the point is to make sure you're getting the proper supplements. Taking Vitamin D and B complex in addition to my multi-vitamin, for me, is the difference between needing to sleep all day and wanting to climb Machu Picchu.
If you’re feeling a little out of whack now that you’ve assessed yourself, have a seat. Close your eyes, relax your shoulders and all the muscles in your face, and take a few deep breaths and pay attention to what you're feeling and your thoughts. The questions give you insight, so make the necessary changes and watch your wacky self get tuned up!