Self-Care and My Inbuilt Automatic Feedback Loop

Thinking about self-care conjures up different things for different people and I have recently been spending a bit of time really thinking about what self-care means to me, how it works and most importantly, how do I know I’m doing it (and doing it right?).

Although I have always known it, it occurred to me that my amazing body is my very own Inbuilt Automatic Feedback Loop. Wow! What technology!

Whilst my awesome Automatic Feedback Loop is a highly advanced piece of technology, with fine-tuning settings that far exceed those of the greatest sports car or the most highly refined stereo, my care-less self-actions have a major impact on my body’s beautiful ability to receive these messages.

So, what exactly does this feedback loop have the ability to communicate with me about, and how does it do so? Well, it provides me with feedback constantly, in every moment of my day. I have the choice to listen or not.

Some examples I have noticed are:

  • Mood – I notice that when I do not eat well or sleep as I need to that my mood can highlight this to me very clearly. I can become snappy and irritable, or feel a bit depressive, or even anxious.
  • Breath – When I eat food that is not right for me, or when I do not drink enough water, my breath can get its own little ‘pong’ on. Try ignoring that!
  • Weight – Well, my clothes tell me a very definite story about whether what I’ve been putting into my body is right for me or not. No escaping that one!
  • Hands – When I am not present in my day-to-day activities, I will often knock or bump my hands. I end up with little sores that last for weeks. They are a reminder for me to reconnect with myself and to be present as I go about my day.
  • Energy – My energy levels are affected by what I eat, how much sleep I get, how I choose to react to some situations rather than observe and respond.
  • Back pain – This will often signal to me when I have lifted more than I feel is right for me, or when I have been sitting or walking for too long or not exercising enough.
  • Skin – When eating foods that are not right for me, my skin will scream it, loud and clear. Pimples erupt and last weeks longer than the momentary pleasure or escape I experienced from eating things that my body needed to process out via pimples.
  • Bowel/Bladder – Well, if it smells, is too hard, too soft, too much, or too little, I know that there is a message I need to listen to, and something I need to adjust (e.g., drink more water, eat more vegetables).
  • Intuition – When I make a choice that is not right for me, I feel it in my body, from subtle unease to feeling physically ill.

Years ago, I thought that my body needed a lot to keep it going throughout the day. I’d wake at 7am and have a coffee paired with a cigarette (or two), then another coffee with breakfast and another cigarette… fruit to get me through to lunch… a heavy lunch… more coffee… a cigarette… a cup of tea… afternoon tea, (biscuits, chips or lollies anyone?). Then home for dinner, which may have been a dish with pasta or rice followed by chocolate and another cigarette and a few hours in front of the TV.

I would then get to bed by about 11pm, have trouble getting to sleep, and wake up again the next morning feeling tired and groggy. On the weekends I drank alcohol and ate as I pleased. It’s no wonder I needed all of the sugar and stimulation from caffeine to keep myself going.

I allowed relationships that were not healthy and I accepted abuse from other people. My Automatic Feedback Loop was giving me signals that what I was doing was not working, but the transmission was a bit fuzzy. I was carrying a lot of extra weight, I looked bloated, I was regularly constipated and had intense stomach cramps, I was tired and had no energy and my skin regularly broke out. My self-esteem was low and I felt ugly and unworthy.

I wonder now what other feedback my body was giving me that I couldn’t hear over all of the louder feedback. It was a bit like being in a big hall when there are a thousand people inside and a presenter is speaking without a microphone. If the crowd is silent, it is so easy to hear the speaker, but if every member of the crowd is speaking as well, then nobody can hear the presenter unless they are standing right next to them. When I was doing all of those things to my body, I couldn’t hear the more subtle messages that my body was telling me.

Fast forward to now, and my life and habits look very different to how they once were. I don’t smoke anymore and I now end my days with an early bedtime. When my body feels tired, I listen (most of the time!) and respect what I am being told my by Inbuilt Automatic Feedback Loop and I go to sleep. I wake up earlier now, feeling more ready to face the day. I eat a breakfast that feels good in my body. I stopped drinking coffee after a little while of listening to my Inbuilt Automatic Feedback Loop because it gave me some startling feedback: coffee makes me feel a bit jittery. I don’t like that feeling, so after a bit of tussling with myself, I stopped putting it in.

I still eat fruit during the day, but am more selective about which fruit I choose because some fruits are more sugary than others and when listening to my feedback loop, I notice that the sugar can be too much for me. I no longer eat pasta and rice or drink milk because of the feedback I got about how these things affect my body. I feel a slight swelling in my stomach, and dairy gives me pimples and wreaks havoc on my digestive system. I choose my relationships carefully now, and the relationships I choose are those where I feel a deep mutual respect and care.

One of the more subtle messages I never noticed before was the response I got from my body about chocolate. When I was a regular drinker of coffee and caffeinated tea, I never noticed what happened when I ate chocolate. As I gradually removed coffee from my diet, I noticed that I still had the jittery feeling that I so wanted to eliminate. Lying on my bed one day, feeling quite serene, I ate a chocolate bar. It tasted great! Afterwards as I lay there I noticed that I got the jitters – a very subtle feeling, but a feeling that I did not like. I recognised it as the caffeine jitters. But as far as I was aware, I hadn’t had any caffeine, had I? It took a conversation with my partner to remind me that chocolate contains caffeine – Ah ha!

So, what does all of this have to do with self-care? Well, my Inbuilt Automatic Feedback Loop is, I have realised, my self-care activation and alert system.

When I am not engaged in self-care then my Inbuilt Automatic Feedback Loop tells me, pretty much straight away:

  • Have some caffeine – and the jitters start.
  • Eat some dairy – and listen to my tummy rumble .
  • Go to bed too late – and feel cranky the next day.
  • And if I put too much into my system –it gets harder to hear the feedback.

What happens when I listen to the communication from my Inbuilt Automatic Feedback Loop?

  • I eat well and my mood stabilises – I sleep peacefully.
  • Breath – no pong.
  • Weight – I feel great in my clothes – everything fits and feels the right size.
  • Energy – my energy stabilises – I could work twice the hours I do at work as I don’t have ‘highs’ or ‘lows’ in my energy (or my mood).
  • Skin – I glow!
  • Bowel/Bladder – quick and easy with little odour trail to speak of.
  • Intuition – when I make a choice that is right for me it feels good – I feel good! 

This list goes on. And this is my list. This is feedback from My Inbuilt Automatic Feedback Loop. What is yours telling you?

By Monica Hattendorff, Newcastle, Australia

Related Reading:
Listening to My Body
What’s All the Fuss about Self-Care?
What Does My Body Know?

305 thoughts on “Self-Care and My Inbuilt Automatic Feedback Loop

    1. Yes very sustainable and practical. Something that’s not another thing to do but a caring way to be that is not an extra thing on the list.

  1. Our bodies show us in so many ways what is supportive and what is not. It’s worth taking notice otherwise the body ends up screaming at us in the form of illness and disease further down the track.

    1. Yes. Totally agree. I can feel today after having a tough one at a school just how important it is to remain aware and deal with things in each moment and nominate how our bodies feel each day. As I sat to give myself a moment and feel my breath and acknowledge how I am – I thought to myself ‘ wow imagine letting a week go or a year or forty years without connecting to our bodies’ and with that I could very tangibly feel just how we contribute to our illness and disease.

    1. Very true. There’s one activity that I’ve been supporting myself with lately before sleep. I can feel how supported my body is the next morning and also how my quality deepens and I bring more to the activity each night. A special little moment just for me to deepen. And one that feeds me back in many ways.

    1. And those adjustments do not need to be big, even a small shift in the way we are sitting at our computer can make a huge difference.

  2. Super check-up list Monica. To be honest about the signals our body is giving us, AND acting on it is the way to evolve. The problem with humanity is not that they don’t receive the first layer of signals from our body ,e.g. after drinking a lot, we all have a hang-over. The problem is they have been conditioned accepting these signals as a normal.

    1. A hangover may be normal in the sense that a lot of people we know may suffer from hangovers, even with great regularity, however, when our body doesn’t feel ‘good’, we are either sick, or we have done something to cause it to feel that way, which is anything but normal for our body. We get so used to overriding the messages our body lovingly sends us, until we reach a point where we love ourselves enough to stop and consider what we are actually doing to ourselves. In this case, being honest about what alcohol is actually doing to our body, both physically and energetically. I feel we do know when we’re doing something that is harming us, but we like the numbing effect that it gives us more than we love ourselves, until we reach the tipping point where we love ourselves too much to be able to continue and then we start to make different, more loving choices.

  3. And the really best part? This inbuilt automatic feedback loop is free of charge and available to us 24/7! No need for long waiting lists, expensive tests, waiting months for the results….it is there 24/7, and it is as reliable as a swiss watch!

  4. When I am upset I overeat and recently it’s been handful of nuts – I stepped on the scales today and my weight is up – simple – I’ve made myself heavier and I need to be light to feel more.

    1. Interestingly, when I have significantly overeaten I feel less full and more drawn, perhaps it’s time to buy some scales and observe this.

  5. Every choice we make is either loving or harming, energetically, for us and everyone else. Each choice leads us into our next moment, when my choices are loving, it’s so much easier to stay on this loving track with myself, however, it doesn’t take much to be bumped off and suddenly I find my choices are no longer loving and I’m reaching for something to dull or numb how I am feeling. The beautiful thing is, it’s just as quick to re-connect as it is to dis-connect. I’ve found it very supportive to know the things that support me in doing this, like sitting quietly, coming back to my breath and feeling the connection with my body, or taking a walk outside, even just standing outside and feeling the warmth of the sun on my body, or listening to the birds. It doesn’t take much, it’s having the awareness that we have dis-connected from the love that we are and our choice to re-connect that’s important.

  6. What a gift to be living within such a finely tuned body that responds to absolutely everything we do, perpetually giving us the green light/red light result of all our choices. The more we pay attention to the green light results, the more vitality, joy and health we experience. Simple science.

  7. Super simple really – enjoy this tour de force of how easy we can make life if we just pay attention to how we are feeling and stop just doing what everyone else is doing because it must be OK…. right? Wrong, or at least its wrong if our bodies say so, and the state of the world’s bodies today does not look to be in the best health!

  8. I too wasn’t equating chocolate with caffeine ( not ever having been a big coffee drinker) until I had eaten a large amount of dark chocolate and felt that jittery feeling. Great to know you have such a wonderful connection to your “inbuilt automatic feedback loop” Monica and an inspiration to all.

  9. Being able to feel that in-built feedback loop is a process of discovery, and how great it is when we do pay attention and feel as the body can give us so much in the way of feedback – it’s like exploring a whole Universe.

  10. the contents of this blog re-written with playful illustrations could make an amazing children’s book – so that children could be playful and learn to live with their ‘inbuilt automatic feedback loop’ (IAFL).

  11. Nothing is ever missed or overlooked by our body, as much as we may advertently or inadvertently, do that ourselves.

  12. Self care is such an important foundation for us all, and the beautiful thing is that the more we support ourselves with self care, the more we seek it and even ‘crave it’ – for example self care could be something as simple as eating your vegetables, and what we can find is that the more we refine our diet and clean it up, dropping away the junk foods, and processed foods and foods that don’t support the body, then we actually find ourselves ‘craving’ healthy foods such as our greens and vegetables, rather than craving the junk foods! This is a wonderful realization when it happens.

    1. And the more we listen the louder it gets. Another word to describe this could also be clearer. The body’s messages become crystal clear.

  13. Reading this I’m inspired to consider what is self-care for me and what feedback loops have I noticed that inhibit me feeling amazing. One that is very noticeable is not just eating foods that I then feel heavy and sick with but taking on the energy of that food as a means of avoiding what I’m feeling. I then feel incredibly tired not because I am physically tired but I’m carrying around a lot more what I’m going to call energetic weight.

    1. Do you know, I have to consider what you have just shared here. I know my body has to work harder to process some foods, and I know that I eat particular foods when I feel a particular way. So, now to take this gift of self-awareness to the next level, and not leave it as simply theory, it is worth me considering how I would feel if I didn’t go to the same foods when I feel something. The result is unlikely to be life threatening, so well worth the experiment and seeing it as an opportunity.

  14. What is interesting in your final list from your feedback loop Monica is the reduction of the highs and lows in your energy and moods. Becoming more self caring in our choices allows for a harmony and order to return to our bodies in which a steadiness emerges.

  15. What a beautifully honest simplicity you bring to our bodies and all they tell us inbuilt and always present waiting for us to listen and guiding us along our journey with the love we innately are and the livingness of this.

  16. Such a simple question – ‘What is mine telling me?’ I have also come to realise that my body is a wealth of wisdom offering so much feedback but am I listening? Thank you Monica for the reminder.

  17. We do get messages and we are receiving feedback as you describe all the time concerning the choices we have made. There are no surprises concerning our health and well being and how we have been treating ourselves. I am tuning in more with my feedback potential it allows me to care more and prepare more for life.

  18. What I find fascinating is how often I have to learn a lesson especially around food and its impact on my body and connection to my self. Every time I eat chocolate I have a negative consequence but yet I still reach for it and know this is to do with undealt with feelings and until those are dealt with no will power or any other strategies will work as the desire to deny is greater than anything else whilst we are treading that path.

    1. This is such a great point Vanessa, but it doesn’t just apply to food. We can have any number of behavioural patterns that we will just keep repeating until we are willing to look at and then deal with the underlying cause of what is driving us to continue with the same patterns, sometimes for years, if not lifetimes.

    2. This is such a huge factor that any person choosing to change their own behaviour, or wishing to support another to do so would do well to consider. When we engage in behaviours that seem we have no control over, such as repeatedly reaching for something we know we should stop, “this is to do with undealt with feelings and until those are dealt with no will power or any other strategies will work as the desire to deny is greater than anything else whilst we are treading that path.”

  19. Responding to an emergency call very early this morning from an elderly person requiring paramedic attention – instead of rushing off as I would have done in the past (before meeting Serge Benhayon), my body (automatic feedback loop) was very clear that it was important to be consistent in my morning rhythm and take care of myself deeply, rather than being caught up in the mental energy of ‘doing something’.
    “This is feedback from My Inbuilt Automatic Feedback Loop”.

  20. What a great blog to read and for me to consider today, how prepared am I to create an environment where I can hear my own body’s feedback look? “When I was doing all of those things to my body, I couldn’t hear the more subtle messages that my body was telling me.”

  21. ‘My energy levels are affected by what I eat, how much sleep I get, how I choose to react to some situations rather than observe and respond.’ We are taught that we get energy from the food we eat, particularly sugary foods and I remember having glucose tablets when we younger before or after our swimming lessons with the belief that they gave us energy. The thing is, sugar, even in low quantities of gives me an initial pick me up or buzz that soon fades leaving me far more tired than before I had the sugar.

  22. During the day when I feel myself getting caught up with work, I like to stop for a moment and do something physical, focus on my movements so that when I return to what I was doing I feel more clarity and steadiness.

  23. I love this – making listening to our bodies as simple as it is. There is no great mystery to ‘listening to our bodies’ it is just a case of feeling the effects of our choices in this way and then choosing to make different ones.

  24. What a beautiful sharing of the gift and amazingness our body is and all it shares with us as our guiding light . The more we honour it the more it responds and the more loving and flowing our life becomes. What we take on and put into our body is a real marker for how and what we feel every day.

  25. When we get signs and signals from our body that don’t feel great we can beat ourselves up because ‘we should have known better’ or dismiss them as random and nothing to do with our choices – that it’s just the way it is or we can as you say see it as feedback – as a communication that we can learn from and use to guide our evolution in life…

  26. Your examples show how very simple and easy it is is to know what is going on with ourselves. So it is not so much about how can I know but more a question of do I want to know and am willing abide to these messages or do I just want to do what I want to do.

  27. I have used my breath as a marker which has worked really well. Through the gentle breath meditation I came to enjoy my natural breath so much that I simply did not want to eat anything that compromised my connection to this. At the time when I decided to stop having caffeine I remember it taking me days to return to the depth of connection with my breath I previously had. This was time that could have otherwise be spent deepening even more.

  28. This exposes all those things that we have chosen to ignore and or decide to misinterpret for so long but provides an opportunity to question what we are being told by our own feedback from our body and how is our relationship with it.

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