"Understand that there are specific ways to properly use your body; Strive for the most natural and optimal ways to function as it does only uncover ways to become physically efficient, it also provides an opportunity to improve your physiological wellbeing."
We were never really instructed how to properly use our bodies. Using our bodies has been instinctive to us, anyway. We did not have to have a manual to figure out how to harness our physical faculties. When we were born, we simply knew how to cry. As infants, we developed motor skills on our own.
But what if, along the way, we picked up some bad habits that in a way contradicts how our bodies were designed for, or, an evolutionary perspective, adapted into? What if a group of the biological switches imprinted in our genes, resolved to favor nonoptimal ways to function, say, triggered by ailments or driven to compensate for a traumatic childhood experience? Or what if we simply just did not develop the right muscles to be more efficient, maybe because of the lifestyles we found ourselves in? What if we can improve ourselves as individuals by learning how to properly utilize our physical bodies, correct counter productive mannerisms, or by incorporating activities to be able to operate it better.
These are the questions I want my younger self to seriously contemplate on and dwell upon. I would say to the younger me: “Know how to properly utilize your physical body because there are always endless ways of not doing so”.
By the phrase “using our bodies properly”, I am NOT even touching base on the discussion of “not abusing oneself by using illicit substances, and by indulging in vices”. That topic merits a separate discussion. What I am aiming to talk about here, simply, is the philosophical thought that there are the strategic approaches that we can employ to get the best out of our biological assets in order to achieve grander things in life.
“You seem to always look tired,” a friend commented. Without going through the weeds, I knew exactly what he was referring to. I was told the same many times in the past. The heavy circles around my eyes must have been too glaring to be left out unnoticed. Again. As always.
Regardless if I had more than enough sleep, I can always rely on my eyebags to show up each day. It did not really bother me as to how I look with it. I could teasingly reply with “I did a movie marathon nonstop- the entire year”, or whatever. The thing is, paired with this extra puffy adornment is the pressing and persistent feeling of lightheadedness and to an extent weariness which really has been affecting my mental alertness, for the most part. Diet and exercise did not do the trick for me. And to say the least, it is categorically a struggle. A struggle that I grew up getting used to.
But what really was the culprit for these feelings of weariness and these dark swells persisting itself on me for years?
My breathing pattern.
At least a decade even, I had been breathing mostly through my mouth and not through the nose. I did not realize this peculiarity until recently. Imagine how oblivious I must have been to operate suboptimally for YEARS, almost all of my life. I had always thought I was breathing the natural way. How could there be another way? Breathing is an involuntary exercise, so it should come to me naturally like for anyone. How could I be wrong with it?
I tried a self-correcting breathing exercise called mewing. In the first attempt, after half an hour of performing the routine, surprisingly, I noticed that my voice sounded better, I felt a familiar sense of relief, and my vision and so my mind was so vivid. As my reflection reveals, I look as if I took a long nap. The swells around my eyes got relaxed. It was magical. This must be it. This is it, but.
The soothing feelings expired in just a couple of hours. I realize that there is no switch to change breathing modes. The answer I got was only a tip of the solution I need.
There are specific ways to utilize our bodies naturally and properly. As much as we want to think that using our bodies should be obvious to us, a common sense if you will, it is not always the case. Evolution molded us with the instincts to survive, but it never really pushes us to function efficiently to the edge of our abilities.
Only a portion of our existence is governed by our consciousness, the rest remains subconscious and involuntary. There is a limit to what we can consciously command ourselves. In the excess of what our minds are capable of handling, all else falls into our physical form to figure out and adjust into for survival- all done unconsciously unless we make the efforts to do otherwise.
Permanent change does not come instantly. I realized that for me to truly correct the problem, I have to build a habit. Nature is persistent and patient. It works in a gradual manner. This means that I had to fight against my nurtured traits and learn how to breathe properly with conscious efforts slowly and consistently. It is not that easy. The hardest part of this journey would be how to unlearn old habits. Unlearning takes much more effort than simply learning and in my case, I required to do both. I am resolved to keep making progress and I am starting to get results.