Most of us have 'symptoms' of some sort - either all the time or just from time to time. Our body is always busy, constantly trying to maintain an equilibrium, making minor adjustments to try and stay balanced (like walking a tightrope or driving on a road, we adjust constantly according to the road & the terrain to ensure a safe & smooth trip). It's common to react quickly and seek 'treatment' to remove a new symptom without really considering the reason / purpose for it and the possible ramifications of the treatment.
So at the moment I personally have a 'really bad cough' as most people would describe it. It's deep and mucousy, wakes me up in the night, interrupts my work sometimes and I sound terrible. Many would book an appointment with someone to 'get rid of it'. To me though, the cough is not 'a really bad cough', it's a good cough!
It's my body's ingenious and effective way of clearing the residue produced by a battle between my (currently compromised) immune system & some bug that's gotten into my lungs and made a home. It works well and will really only be a nuisance for a short period.
Every time my body begins to display a new symptom, I ask myself a few general questions -
(I'll answer them here in relation to my current cough, but any symptom can be approached this way) in order to figure out what - if anything - to do about it.
Why is my body all of a sudden doing this? What's the possible cause / trigger / reason for this?
It feels like a cold, must have some microbes growing in my lungs irritating them, causing mucous production. Kids have had a cough like it. I have been a bit run down.
Is it something I've experienced before? If so can I remember any changes / feelings / circumstances leading up to it.
I've had loads of coughs before, usually at the start of winter - when I'm getting less sunshine, exercise & fresh air & when more people around me are also ill.
Is it something people around me have also been experiencing recently? How is my experience in comparison?
My kids have also had a cough recently with the same basic characteristics. My cough seems perhaps a little more severe, deeper & longer-lasting.
How does it make me feel generally / cause me to modify my behavior?
I feel tired, a bit 'stagnant', feel like sleeping longer, working less. I am craving sunshine, more vigorous exercise & fresh air. But when I think about it, that was also happening before the cough appeared...but I didn't do anything about it.
Is it something I want / need help with or do I feel my body is just doing what it needs to do in order to adjust / get back to equilibrium.
I know it's just my lungs cleansing / clearing out any bugs & mucous. I think my body is handling it fine, no treatment needed, provided it keeps improving steadily with time.
...so I say 'thanks for the reminder' that in order to stay well & balanced my body really needs good levels of sleep, sunshine, fresh air & exercise. So simple, yet so important. If you don't listen to the 'soft' calls for help early on, your body will need to find a less subtle way to make you listen & make adjustments! My symptoms are my body's attempt to re-balance itself - and to communicate that something needs to change.