Checking In – How to Pay Attention to Your Body

Photo by IVM

In college I became ill from a combination of stress and external toxins. The imbalance in my body was so great that I became allergic to nearly every food, became nearly bone-thin, and broke out in head to toe eczema. After taking a temporary leave from school I was able to get my health back on track; but if I had paid more attention to my body early on, I could have avoided the pain and multitude of treatments I had to go through over the course of three years to become normal again.

Sometimes we can look or feel “healthy,” but our body is giving us subtle signals to let us know that something is out of balance. If kept unchecked, your body’s subtle signals will get louder and louder until you take notice. Unfortunately, that means that something that could have been taken care of easily with a change in diet or routine suddenly becomes something that needs medical attention or more widespread lifestyle changes.

Taking a page from some holistic medicine practices, here’s a few ways you can check in with your body and determine if you need to take action:

Be mindful of blemishes
Your skin is a visual manifestation of your internal health, so if you’re getting acne in the same place(s) over and over, it could be time to do some investigating. Check out the Acne Face Map to get the real story on why that pimple keeps showing up on your forehead.

Stick out your tongue
If you have ever been to an Ayurvedic or Chinese doctor you have probably been asked stick out your tongue as part of your diagnosis. This is because your tongue is a virtual map of your internal health with each part of the tongue corresponding to a different organ in the body. To see an Ayurvedic take on the many “faces” of the tongue, check out this illustrated chart at Or check out the traditional Chinese medicine tongue chart from If your tongue is showing signs of imbalance consider checking out a local Ayurvedic or Chinese medicine practitioner to get back on track.

Look at your hands
Your nails, like your skin, are a reflection of what is happening inside your body. From warning of psoriasis to thyroid and anemia conditions, your nails can tell you a lot. Take some time in between manicures to check out your nails and make sure they aren’t trying to send you a signal. This handy slide show from WebMD will help you decipher those bumps and cracks. Of course, not every spot means something; but if you are exhibiting other symptoms, book an appointment with a dermatologist to get the full story.

Your body is constantly communicating with you letting it know when it’s hungry, hurting, tired, or just plain out of sorts. If you tune in to your body’s needs you can use these bits of information to keep yourself balanced and healthy.


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