“Listen to your body,” “take care of yourself,” “honor your body,” “be kind to yourself,” and so on. I come from the yoga space, so I hear stuff like this all the time. How should we interpret it? Does honoring yourself mean that you should never challenge yourself? Does listening to your body mean never pushing past your comfort zone? Does taking care of yourself mean bubble wrapping yourself in hopes of protecting yourself from any possible damage? I don’t think so.
Living organisms benefit from stress. We adapt. We strive to be what Nicolas Nassim Taleb calls “Antifragile.” Something that is fragile breaks when forces are applied to it. Something that is merely robust is unchanged when forces are applied to it. But the antifragile gets stronger and improves from the stresses placed upon it. That is what we should all strive to do.
Taking care of ourselves should include regular doses of stress: physical, mental and emotional. That which does not kill us makes us stronger, means the stress should be significant but not life-threatening. A good workout in my mind, is an ordeal; a task that I fear might be too much for me to bear. Before it begins I’m nervous and when it’s done I am relieved. Many of my yoga friends would look at a workout that arduous and wonder why someone would do that. I would respond that I am honoring my body.