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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Learn to Listen to Your Body

The day I arrived in Japan, I met a young Texan named Mike, sort of a Dennis-the-Menace all grown up.

He told me about the first time he went bungee jumping. It was a first-timers-only jump, from a tower, and the line was moving r-e-a-l-l-y slow. When he finally got to the top, he discovered why.

They put on his harness and gave instructions, then told him to step to the edge of the platform. Being a cocky youngster, he strolled right up to the lip, looking out into space.

They told him to jump, he said OK, and…nothing happened.

Mike's brain was sending a signal to his legs, and his legs were simply saying "no."

You see, no matter what the brain with all its "intelligence" was saying, the legs knew that jumping off a platform to the ground a hundred feet down was a sure way to die. Knowing this, Mike's legs were keeping his feet firmly planted. He said that he could feel a little "twitch" in the legs every time his brain sent the message, but the legs still went nowhere.

Friends, never forget: the body knows what's good for it.

"But wait," you say, "what about cravings that are bad for it? Like alcohol, or smoking, or too much sugar?"

I believe those cravings are telling us something important, and our brains--filled to the brim with advertising, rationalization, and bad habits--misinterpret those messages and lead us to unhealthy behavior.

That's not the body's fault, that's the ol' brain again.

So learn to listen to what your body really needs, and respond appropriately.

You'll be happier.

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