Podcast transcript: Listeners and readers share health advice to their younger selves
Yesterday’s podcast episode features readers and listeners sharing health advice to their younger selves. If you haven’t yet listened and prefer reading to listening, the full transcript is below. Enjoy!
Love and gratitude,
00:03SPEAKER_00: Welcome to Notes from Your Acupuncturist, the podcast for anyone who's interested in acupuncture, complementary medicine, holistic health, and self-care. I'm your host, Alexa Bradley-Hulsey. If you enjoy this show, you can help other people discover it by leaving a rating or a review, by following or subscribing on your favorite podcast listening app, or simply by telling someone about it. And if you'd like to support this show financially, you can become a paid subscriber on Substack for just a few dollars a month. Just head over to substack.com and search Notes from Your Acupuncturist, or click the link in the show notes. And one more thing before we get started, just a disclaimer that this podcast is for educational purposes only and is not a replacement for medical care from a qualified healthcare provider. Okay, on with the show.
00:56SPEAKER_00: Hello everyone, and thanks for tuning in. Welcome to Notes from Your Acupuncturist. I'm your host, Alexa Bradley-Hulsey, and today I'm going to share some responses I got from readers and listeners to a question I recently posed on Substack and social media. And that question was, what health advice would you give to your younger self?
01:18SPEAKER_00: So I put this question out there and I wasn't sure if anyone would respond, but they did. And I'm going to share some of these responses here. If you'd like to share your thoughts or ask a question, I'd love to hear from you. You can get in touch via Substack by commenting on a post or replying to an email, or you can message me on Facebook or Instagram at Notes from Your Acu. And if you send a voice memo, I will play that on the air.
01:45SPEAKER_00: So, on to today's topic. What health advice would you give to your younger self?
01:51SPEAKER_00: This question was inspired by my patience, as is a lot of my writing and the conversations on this podcast.
01:58SPEAKER_00: And I think about the patients who expressed to me that they wish that they'd tried acupuncture sooner. Or maybe they wish they'd done something differently when they were younger to maybe prevent some of the health issues they're experiencing now. And I think we can all look back on our younger years and wish we had made different decisions. So if you could somehow magically get into that time machine and go back, what health advice would you give to your younger self?
02:28SPEAKER_00: Here are some of the responses I got.
02:31SPEAKER_00: The first response was, easy, wear sunscreen. It wasn't a thing in the 50s and 60s. And boy, am I sorry. So that comment was from someone who grew up in the 50s and 60s. But even future generations didn't necessarily learn that lesson, because here's a comment I got from a Gen Xer, step away from the tanning bed. So maybe the next generation will finally learn. Any Gen Xers listening out there, sun protection, please.
03:04SPEAKER_00: Here's another response I love. Learn to relax and move easier. Stop pushing through and forcing everything. Trying isn't all it's cracked up to be.
03:15SPEAKER_00: And I love this advice because I feel like in our culture, we're steeped in messages about powering through and go, go, go all the time and not giving up and keep going. But we need to recognize that sometimes it's OK to stop. Sometimes what's needed is not to keep going, but to surrender and to accept. And this really aligns with the traditional Chinese medicine way of viewing the body because Chinese medicine seeks to restore a natural state of qi flow in the body and qi flowing in harmony with nature and the universe around us. And in Chinese medicine, we don't force things. You can't force healing.
04:05SPEAKER_00: Here's another bit of advice, which I think in some ways related to the one we just heard.
04:11SPEAKER_00: Learn and practice self-compassion from a young age.
04:15SPEAKER_00: This is so good. So many of us from a young age or even a very young age and likely from way back when we're children, we get into patterns of being hard on ourselves. And maybe it's about the way we look or maybe it's about meeting expectations from other people.
04:36SPEAKER_00: And we end up telling ourselves that we just have to do better. We have to be better. And we actually miss out on opportunities to learn from our mistakes because we're just trying to be perfect and avoid making mistakes in the first place.
04:52SPEAKER_00: So for me, self-compassion means allowing myself to be imperfect and to be messy, and just allowing myself really to be human. And I find that when I practice that self-compassion, it increases my capacity to have compassion for others, too, because I accept their humanness just like I accept my own.
05:18SPEAKER_00: because when we practice self-compassion, what we are really doing is allowing ourselves to be human.
05:26SPEAKER_00: Here's another great response. When you discover disciplines that work, use them all and stick with it.
05:33SPEAKER_00: I love this advice. So a few years back, I would pick a word of the year, and that would be my word that I wanted to guide me. It was like my intention for the year.
05:47SPEAKER_00: And I haven't done one for a few years. But one year, I picked the word discipline. And I think I picked this word because I was feeling scattered and pulled in a lot of different directions. And I just felt like I needed more discipline in my life to keep me focused and to keep me present. And so when I picked this word and started the year with the word discipline, I was a little nervous because discipline did not sound like a very fun word, really. It sounded kind of strict and confining. But what ended up happening was that having discipline actually gave me a lot of freedom because it gave me structure.
06:30SPEAKER_00: And then that opened up space for creativity and new experiences and even fun stuff.
06:37SPEAKER_00: And I haven't done a word of the year in a while, probably because in 2020, I decided my word would be play. And then the pandemic came along, and well, there just wasn't much play in 2020. But of all of the words of the year that I have done in the past, I think that discipline was the most life-changing, and the one that has really stayed with me, and that I continue to practice today. So yes, disciplines work, and it's a matter of finding the ones that work for you and sticking with them. Great advice.
07:11SPEAKER_00: Here's another piece of advice that was shared on social media.
07:14SPEAKER_00: Eat and drink all the stuff while you still can. Gluttony! Just unlearn it all by 39.
07:21SPEAKER_00: So this is a fun one and one that many of us probably followed in our younger years. And I don't know, maybe this person meant it in a little bit of a joking way. But I think there's some truth here. Why not turn the typical advice on its head? And instead of starting younger with a healthy lifestyle, maybe there's something to be said for living a life of fullness and excess while your body is young and resilient enough to handle it. Or maybe at least, maybe just don't take life too seriously when you're young. And maybe you shouldn't take life too seriously when you're old, too.
07:58SPEAKER_00: Okay, next piece of advice. Never ignore the body.
08:03SPEAKER_00: Yes, yes, yes.
08:06SPEAKER_00: I talk to patients about this a lot. Physical symptoms are the body's way of getting our attention.
08:13SPEAKER_00: So pain tells you to slow down before you injure yourself. Digestive symptoms tell you something's off with the food you're eating. Insomnia, in traditional Chinese medicine, that means that the shen, or the spirit, doesn't have a place to rest, and we need to examine what's going on emotionally. Your body speaks to you all the time. But so many of us don't live in a very embodied way. And maybe we even try to actively ignore the body and so we end up missing those signals. And then the body has to speak louder and louder and find more forceful ways to get our attention. And unfortunately, that means sometimes we get to the point when we're really sick or really in pain before we take action.
09:02SPEAKER_00: Ignoring the body is like, I think of it as like ignoring a big crack in the foundation of your home. It's not going to get better on its own. The body wants to heal. It wants to be whole. And when it sends signals, it's trying to help. So pay attention.
09:20SPEAKER_00: Related to that, another piece of advice I got was this. Stop before the pain begins. Don't let the gaslighting you are experiencing affect you. Trust what you feel.
09:33SPEAKER_00: And wow, there's so much here. That last part, trust what you feel, that is the part that really speaks to me. And it gets back to the earlier piece of advice about always listening to the body.
09:46SPEAKER_00: Because listening is the first step, but then you have to interpret what you hear, and you have to figure out what that means, and what the body's trying to tell you. And to do that in a meaningful way, you have to trust yourself.
09:59SPEAKER_00: No one lives in your body, but you so you are the expert on your own body Not your doctors not your family not random people on the internet Not even your acupuncturist you so live in your body Hear what it has to say and trust yourself to be the best caretaker for it
10:21SPEAKER_00: Okay, one more piece of advice. Remember, you are not immortal. Cherish each moment.
10:30SPEAKER_00: And I think we'll end on that one.
10:34SPEAKER_00: Big thanks to every listener and reader who replied and shared their advice. And I just want to say, you're never too old to take your own advice.
10:44SPEAKER_00: Well, except maybe the one about living a life of gluttony before age 39. But anything else you heard today, you can start practicing no matter what your age. And I hope you heard something that was meaningful for you. If you have advice you'd like to share or a burning question to ask, I would love to hear from you. You can comment on Substack or message me directly on Facebook or Instagram. Bonus points if you share a voice memo because then I can share it on the air.
11:12SPEAKER_00: Be well out there, friends. Thanks for listening.
11:18SPEAKER_00: Thank you for listening to today's episode of Notes from Your Acupuncturist. If you liked what you heard, please follow this show, leave a rating or review, or just tell someone about it. And if you want to join the conversation, you can subscribe to Notes from Your Acupuncturist on Substack, where you can comment, ask questions, participate in discussion threads, watch videos, and read more of my reflections on acupuncture and healing. Huge thanks as always to our paid subscribers for helping keep this work sustainable. You too can become a paid subscriber for just a few dollars a month. Just head over to Substack.com and search Notes from Your Acupuncturist or click the link in the show notes. Until next time, this is Alexa Bradley-Hulsey, your acupuncturist, signing off with love and gratitude.