How to Listen to & Learn from Your Mental & Physical Warning Signals

In this podcast (episode #418) and blog, I talk about our mental and physical warning signals, what they are, and why we need to listen to them. This podcast is part 3 of my series on the different parts of the mind. 

As mentioned in my previous two podcasts on this topic, The Difference Between the Nonconscious, Subconscious & Conscious Mind (part 1) and How to Tap Into the Nonconscious Mind to Unwire Trauma & Toxic Thinking Habits (part 2), when you consciously engage the nonconscious mind through deliberate, intentional, strategic, and proactive deep thinking, you draw your thoughts, with their embedded memories, through the subconscious mind and into the conscious mind. When these thoughts arrive in the conscious mind, they’re in a malleable state, which means you can change them and reconceptualize them. You also tune in to the physical warning signals associated with how you feel, such as an increased heartrate, an adrenaline rush, a headache, or a stomachache. Next, you embrace any feelings, such as anxiety or depression, as an emotional warning signal that something is going on in your life. Instead of seeing these as negative, you see them as telling you something; you make them work for you and not against you. You do this in a celebratory way, not because you’re celebrating the painful memories, but because now you’re conscious of them, which means you can change them. Remember, you can change only what you are conscious of.

You have self-regulatory power when you are conscious, which is kind of like what famed neuroscientist Benjamin Libet famously called “veto power” over your thoughts. This power allows you to control your thoughts. You can literally capture them, and using your self-regulatory veto power, change them. As you do this, you override the force generated from the energy of the toxic thought, and choose to speak or act, or not, according to this thought. You can even evaluate the thought and decide if you want to change it, when to change it, and how to change it.  

You don’t have to be driven by toxic ruminations and reactions from established negative thought patterns or traumas, because you have the power to veto them. This is a proactive way of approaching the mind and can save you a lot of heartache and anxiety! I’m sure you have already experienced this numerous times: you are just about to say or do something but stop yourself for some reason. Maybe you feel it’s the wrong timing, or that the person is already upset and it would only make matters worse. This is mind-management in action, and one of the many ways we can clean up the mental mess!

Essentially, you need to become a thought detective to find the source(s) of your mental distress. This starts with understanding the signals that the mind, brain, and body send you when you are going through something. These signals alert you TO protect you

There are 4 main signals: your emotions, your behaviors, your physical symptoms, and your perspective/outlook. Some examples are:

  • Feelings of irritability and/or hopelessness (an emotional warning signal)
  • Ignoring calls, texts or emails (a behavioral warning signal)
  • The world feels more negative (a perspective warning signal)
  • Muscle aches and/or pains (a physical warning signal)

Let’s say you feel depressed. As an exercise to help you start managing these feelings of depression, try to categorize what signals you are experiencing into these 4 categories. Some other examples of signals from a post I shared on social media are:

  • Feeling self-conscious or flat around people
  • Your personal hygiene goes out the window
  • Your thoughts make you sad
  • Your room gets messy
  • Your hobbies no longer make you happy
  • Brain fog
  • You stop missing people and isolation feels more comfortable
  • Constant fatigue 

As you gather awareness of your warning signals, ask yourself questions like: 

  • How do I feel emotionally? Physically? 
  • Are any of my behaviors bothering me? 
  • What is my outlook/worldview/perspective—how do I feel about my life/the world/etc.? 

Write this down any way you wish to help you start organizing your thinking. Then, once you go through this exercise, you can start listening to what these signals are telling you, and work through how you feel to reconceptualize these thought patterns using a mind management system like the Neurocycle (for more on this see my app Neurocycle and book Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess). The goal is to learn how to listen to the nonconscious mind using your conscious mind, and then using what you have gathered to start changing how these thoughts are affecting your mental health and life. 

It is important to remember that things like anxiety, depression, burnout, frustration, angst, anger and grief are emotional and physical warning signals, telling you that you need to face and deal with something that’s happened or is happening in your life.  

The mental pain, which is very real, is a sign that something is wrong: you are in a state of disequilibrium. It’s not a sign of a defective brain! The brain is going through a process of reordering and reorganizing in response to your experience(s), which are processed through the different parts of the mind (as was discussed in part one and two of this podcast series).  

It is also important to remember that the brain and mind are separate. The brain does not produce the mind; the brain responds to the mind. And you have the power to change your mind!

For more on the warning signals and the mind, listen to my podcast (episode #418), and check out my latest book Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess and app Neurocycle. If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!). 

You can now also join me on Patreon for exclusive, ad-free content! Sign up for a membership level that suits you, and receive access to ad-free exclusive bonus podcasts. These episodes will include more targeted, step-by-step guides for specific mental health issues AND some fun, more personal podcasts about topics like my favorite skincare products and favorite books, as well as live Q&As, fan polls and requests, and exclusive digital downloads!

This podcast is sponsored by:

NOOM. We are all in different places in our lives, and on our health journeys. Many of us are faced with difficult decisions every day—what to eat, when to work out and how to live our best lives. We want to make the best choices for our brain and body health, but it isn’t always easy. Indeed, what health looks like for you may be completely different to what it looks like for someone else—there is no one size fits all. This is why I love Noom’s different approach to health and eating. The program is driven by a singular mission: to help as many people as possible live healthier and happier lives through behavior change. They use the latest in proven behavioral science to empower people to take control of their health for good. And, through a combination of psychology, technology, and human coaching, Noom has helped millions of users meet their personal wellness goals. Start building better habits for healthier, long-term results. Sign up for your trial at 

Apollo Neuroscience. Apollo is a new wearable device that improves the way your body manages stress. It can help you sleep better, stay calm, focus more, be more present, and feel less overwhelmed, which I know many of us need these days, including myself! I love that Apollo is a safe, natural way for me to feel my best without drugs or any unwanted side effects. It has been studied in multiple clinical trials and real-world studies, and has been shown to support up to 40% less stress and feelings of anxiety, up to 19% more time in deep sleep, and up to a 25% increase in focus and concentration. Want to improve your sleep, relaxation, focus, recovery, and mindfulness habits? Try Apollo today! Get up to $40 off the Apollo wearable at 

Podcast Highlights

2:15 What warning signals are & the different types of warning signals 

4:40 Warning signals show you thought patterns that are affecting you 

7:35 Warning signals help you tune into the nonconscious mind 

11:16 These signals also tell you good things! 

15:48 Emotions are not illnesses!

This podcast and blog are for educational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional. 

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