'The recognition of the role of stress in the development of illness leads to the important notion of illness as a "problem solver." Because of social and cultural conditioning, people often find it impossible to release their stresses in healthy ways, and therefore choose - consciously or unconsciously - to get sick as a way out....
'Examples of this (self-healing) phenomenon would be periods of ill health involving minor symptoms. These are normal and natural stages in the organism's process of restoring balance by interrupting our usual activities and forcing a change of pace.' --Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi in The Systems View of Life
These quotes combine a couple of things that I have been thinking about, based on the book above and Antifragile, which I have written about previously.
The idea is that when we experience sickness, stress, temperatures, feelings of lethargy, this is our body's way of giving us feedback.
My approach in the past has been to pump in things into my body, to add more of something into the mix in order to rectify the 'problem'.
My evolving approach is to first stop and listen to the feedback, to observe it and consider what it might be trying to tell me, and then to act.
Usually it is telling me something like 'remove stress from your life', or 'you are sleep deprived', or 'put better things into your body'. Rarely is it telling me 'you need to take more Panadol or drink more coffee'.
A headache is not a defect, something to be numbed by a drug without thought. A headache is an indication that something about the way I am living is out of whack and it would probably be a good idea to rectify it.