Thank You, Headache

My sweet coworker told me today she woke up with a terrible headache. My gut response was, “Well, did you eat any junky foods lately?” She said she did. She also said she didn’t drink enough water yesterday. Well, that’ll do it! I told her to eat some nice fruits and veggies and to start drinking lots of water. I also joked that she’s getting to be oldie moldy (she’s like, 26) and her body can’t take the junkie foods any more ;)

In all seriousness, I told her to thank her headache because it’s a sign that the body is not happy. “Thank you, headache, for the signal. As I look back on the past day or so, I now realize I didn’t fill my body with good stuff! I will listen to you now and next time will make better choices. Thanks for the wisdom to keep myself healthy!” And that my friends, is how we learn Ayurvedically.

Rather than just wishing the headache away, learn from it. Yes, take an ibuprofen if you want but take the time to look backwards and change your habits going forward. In our modern-ness, we are so concerned on quick-fixing the pain (or the heartburn, or the constipation, or the common cold, the list goes on) that we completely MISS the opportunity to improve our lives!! These minor pains in the tukus are not really minor at all. Well, they might start out that way, but these are signals that the body is not functioning properly! Let me say that again, “…that the body is not functioning properly!” That’s kind of a big deal. Our bodies are smart and give us information all the time. We have to be a good partner to receive and honor it’s requests.

(I could stop this post here, but I’m on my soap box so I’ll continue. Plus I want to –*clunk* *clunk* *clunk*– get this into your head and the heads of those you love.)

It’s no longer okay to say, “I’ll have to pack my Pepcid because I’m going to have spaghetti with meatballs, red wine, and garlic bread for dinner at the restaurant and I know I’ll get heartburn.” Dude that is soooo old school, soooo pre-2012. We know now that need to STOP eating those foods in the first place! Taking some medicines once in a while isn’t terrible, but many people take them so they can unknowingly carry on undisturbed, with habits that do not serve them. Gah! No more! Our bodies and lives are more important than that!! Next time you feel ill or imbalanced look behind you. What did you eat? How did you sleep? Did you drink enough water? Did you eat according to your constitution? What season is it? Questions like these will bring introspection and let your wisdom shine through (jumping off the box).

When has your wisdom shone through for you–like, when did you have an “aha” moment about a habit that was no longer serving you? How did you feel after you made the right choice? I’m curious! Ok I’ll go first: Eating meat makes me moody, judgmental, impatient and angry. A vegetarian fare keeps my mind clear and happy. Your turn!

14 Responses to Thank You, Headache

  1. Little Headache can become long term migraine. Please take advice from a good doctor.

  2. Hollie McTiernan says:

    Yes! When I drink too much coffee and not enough water, I work myself into headache mode. I can feel it coming. It feels like my body is flashing a warning sign that says “hey! stop already or I’m going to sound the alarm!”
    My husband and I have had this conversation about his love of Diet Dr Pepper. If he walks into the house with what we call his “can of comfort” after his commute home, we both know that the Tums will be coming out before bed time :/

    • Monica says:

      Hollie!! Awesome story and thank you for sharing this. I think this is really important because a LOT of us drink coffee (and soda!) and may feel “off” from it. So great and thanks for bringing this up! xoxo!

  3. Tanya says:

    Headaches for me happen more in the winter so paying close attention to the food is paramount. We get chinooks that blow through and send many into headache land as it can be difficult to quickly adapt to the weather change (going from -25 degrees Celsius to plus 15 degrees Celsius in a matter of hours). It helps to eat properly so the affects are minimized.

  4. Meghs says:

    Unrelated but important! There are so many recipes doing the rounds on the internet about overnight oats which combines greek yoghurt with milk of different kinds. I personally tried some hung yoghurt and milk for overnight oats and didn’t like the taste. Is this combination ayurvedically good? Also, there are smoothies with greek yoghurt, avocado and orange juice, what would you say to that?

  5. Arah says:

    Avoiding alcohol, especially in the hours right before bed. I sleep so much better, when I do this! Lately, I’ve been trying to drop a few pounds, cut excess sugar, and cut some redness in my facial skin. Those results aren’t as immediate as the better sleep, but perhaps if I stick with it, they will manifest as well. I sure hope so – that’ll help me stick with it, I’m particularly fond of good wine and beer.

    I love your blog & Ayurvedic tips! Big surprise: I’m a pitta. Thanks for writing.

    • Monica says:

      Arah, AWESOME observations and thanks for bringing up alcohol! YES to all of these things!!! Alcohol is a quiet contributor to many imbalances (you’ve listed quite a few great ones). Starting with better sleep is a gateway to improving life overall. You just watch – the results will happen! :) Thank you for your great note!

  6. rachel says:

    Soups rich with veggies are my best friend!!! As is starting my morning with ginger tea and oatmeal. And just like monica – giving up the meat (and the dairy) keeps my mind clear, focused and peaceful. I have greater patience with others now that I eschew animal products. When I ate the standard American diet – I had road rage issues, was crabby and negative, and got super moody with the slightest hunger pain (also read as excess protein withdrawal)

  7. Sarah says:

    What a timely topic! I’ve been having tons of headaches/migraines lately. I try to take good care of myself and generally eat very well, but it just seems like there’s no stopping them. I can’t seem to find the root cause yet. It can really put a huge damper on my day, and then it becomes a cycle because I’m in too much pain to work out or reach out to others or be the kind of person I want to be (vivacious, engaged, patient) and then I just feel worse about my life. I’ll try to pay more attention to figure it out. Thanks for this, Monica.

    • Monica says:

      Sarah! Yes, pay attention to those migraines. In one of my Ayurvedic classes, Dr. Lad actually said that migraines are blessings from God…because it makes us look within. Keep paying attention and ask to be shone why you are getting these headaches…the answer will appear :) xo

  8. Marsi says:

    SO many, now that I’m perimenopausal. Alcohol and strong caffeine give me heart palpitations (benign). Sugar and white carbs bloat me (and oatmeal, too, as discussed a few weeks ago). I do best with lots of vegetables and fruits, soups, lean proteins and eggs, and a bit of cheese and whole grains. Not the standard American diet at all.

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