Given your observations and given a context, you can then respond appropriately. Let’s start with the observations. The context comes later.
Observation is essential for clues to put together in a pattern. Those clues can be readily apparent if you know what to look for and how to observe. You can start by recording your body messages according to the questions listed below.
Writing down these observations is not only good record-keeping, it attunes you to what you are feeling. Record keeping is important because we want to see all the pieces of the pattern. Everything is related to everything else, and missing pieces make the pattern vague so we could miss the message without all the pieces.
I recommend using this checklist on yourself right now, and add to your notes when you observe more details as well as when anything changes. You may also want to check in with someone who spends time with you and knows you well for details you may not be seeing.
Hint: scroll down to the end of the questions to find a printable worksheet to record all your answers.
You may also use this for helping a loved one get in touch with what their body is telling them. You may help them by making them aware of things that they do not see at first.
1. Make an overall assessment:
- Your energy:
- time of day
- Your sleep:
- do you awake refreshed
- have dreams
- do you and when do you wake up at night & are you able to get back to sleep easily
- How is your appetite:
- its regularity,
- for what,
- satiated when eat
- Your mood:
- up/down in general
- dependent on outside factors & what they are
2. Differences between when you are well and ill.
When you are acutely ill, you often look very different from when you feel well. Observe a baseline when well and note changes. Any changes just might tip you off that you are out of balance, and continuing in the same way will bring illness.
- Facial expression and color
- Brightness of the eyes
- Body posture and spirit
- Movements or gestures out of the ordinary, guarding of parts
- Skin changes such as flushed, pallid, rashes
- Notice any discharges from the eyes, mouth, ears, nose, anus or genitals for
- The preferred environment:
- hot or cool,
- messy or clean,
- dark or bright,
- moving air or closed in . . .
- want company or alone
- beverages or not thirsty
- hot or cold beverages . . .
- hungry or not
- hungry for . . .
3. Deeper Observation
To dive deeper on a particular symptom or set of symptoms, ask yourself this series of questions. One question may elaborate on a previous question, so keep going and write everything that comes to you. Answers do not have to be limited to these questions. Include details that are specific and may not have been asked.
Describe everything like you are telling a story using all your senses, in 3 dimensions, describing inside and out, and if and when it changes through time.
When was the onset of the symptoms? At what time? Sudden or gradual?
How long have they been present? Do they come and go or stay?
What time of day do the symptoms occur?
What brings on the symptoms? Is it following something in particular?
Are they affected by standing, sitting, lying, walking?
Are they affected by environmental factors such as cold, noise, light?
Are they affected by emotional states like anger, sadness, or grief?
What specific sensation is there?
Is there any pain?
What body part is affected?
Is it one side or the other?
Does the sensation travel to any other part of the body?
How intense is each symptom?
On a scale from 1 to 10, how much does it affect you?
Is there any characteristic that makes each symptom unique, striking, or unusual?
What other symptoms commonly occur at the same time?
What makes it better?
What makes it worse?
Is there something that just happened in your life to cause a change in your state?
What is the worst part?
Because I want to make it easy for you, these questions are available as a printable worksheet.
Print out a few so that you can record changes when they occur.
Please comment below about how this observation is helping you see a pattern in your body’s messages.
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“Naturopathic Physician Dr. Cheryl Kasdorf is a doctor who listens and has answers with a natural approach that works. She is known as the go-to person to get back your get-up-and-go when it is gone, gone, gone. Get your FREE gift “Dr. Kasdorf’s Health Secrets for Feeling & Looking Great” at drcherylkasdorf.com