Stop and Listen to What Your Body is Telling You By Ann Todhunter Brode You’ve been taking care of yourself for many years. Over time, you’ve probably learned a fair amount about what works and what doesn’t. Each timeyou encountered an injury, illness, change, or challenge, you had an opportunity to find out more about your body and fine-tune your self-care.

Anytime you include your body as an intelligent partner on life’s journey, you’ll learn something new about yourself. Just put your mind in observation mode, ask a few simple questions, and listen to your body’s response.TAKING STOCK OF YOUR HEALTHStart this process by compiling a few notes to help you take a good look at your health profile. This is more about awareness than a recantation of your health history. Take time to check in and ask what your body thinks. Answering the following prompts will ensure you’ve covered the basics: Consider your flesh and bones Do you have the strength and flexibility you want and need? Can you touch your toes and walk up a steep hill? Are you accommodating a long-term injury or chronic weakness? Do you take time to exercise aerobically? What is the condition of the skin on your arms and legs, as well as your face?

Consider Your Organs & Glands

Do you have the energy you need? Does the food you eat give you high-grade fuel? Are you easily startled and/or often anxious? Can you find your calm center whenever you need it? Do your eyes look bright and alert? Consider your attitude Are you focused and peaceful when you’re attending to your body’s needs? Do you value the time spent (brushing, bathing, feeding, stretching) as a part of the quality of life? Do you enjoy beingphysical (moving, dancing, working, touching, and loving)?

Consider Your Balance

Are you resilient and responsive to change? Do you get the rest you need? Does your schedule have time set aside for play? Does your demeanor communicate love and hope? Jot down everything that comes to mind, then letitrest for a day or two. When you come back to reread your notes, see them from the perspective of a health analyst and evaluate your personal health profile. Make note of your diagnosis and your prescription for what’s lacking and what’s needed and keep these notes to refer to later. Committing to just one change from this exercise will influence your health profile over time. Like any course correction, when you change the slightest thing, you shift the whole trajectory. Trust your body to show you where you need to start, what you need to know, and how to access your own authority. When you tune in to the flesh and bones of your body,the basics will make sense and self-care will be personalized and sustainable.

Ann Todhunter Brode

Ann Todhunter Brode

Body therapist and author helping people listen to and understand the body.

Ann Brode is a longtime resident of Santa Barbara and recognized master in her field. For over 40 years she has focused on the relationship of body, mind and spirit as it shapes the physical experience.

Receiving her BA in 1968, Ann spent 7 years as a motor-perceptual therapist working with young children. In this early work, she discovered that every person learns differently and every body can change and find better balance, grace, and comfort. Seeking to help all people access their full potential for responsive awareness, Ann began extensive training with Movement Therapy and Bodywork pioneer Judith Aston. Using Aston Kinetics principles, Ann worked with individuals and groups to facilitate healing and teach viable life skills. Along the way, she developed a deep respect for the essential unity of body, mind, and soul.