To pee or not to pee – should that even be a question?

By Coleen Hensey

I was recently advised by my GP to keep an eye on my blood pressure as we worked together to find the causes of some health issues that had arisen.

After attending a specialist appointment one lovely, warm day, I took myself for a rainforest walk and then walked my gorgeous labradoodle to the local dog park. We were both thirsty from our walks so I shared my water with my dog, who was most appreciative. I was feeling lovely – connected with nature and purposeful in having started to attend to these matters of personal health.

I felt so good that I decided to pop into the local pharmacy before going home and have my blood pressure measured, so that I would have a reference for ‘feeling lovely.’

My friendly pharmacist welcomed me warmly, as always, and we attached the sleeve to my arm to measure my current blood pressure. As the sleeve deflated and the reading appeared on the screen, I observed how the pharmacist had started to mask a sense of alarm: the diastolic reading (the bottom number) was registering a reading of hypertensive crisis – 124. (1) My usual reading is around 75-80. The systolic pressure was also higher than usual for me, but not alarmingly so.

The pharmacist asked me, with genuine care, if I had drunk any water recently and also if I needed to go the loo. I replied that I was a bit thirsty as I had shared my water with the dog and that, yes, I did need to visit the loo but wasn’t aware of there being a toilet in the immediate area. Solicitously, she directed me to a ‘shop’ toilet and then brought me three glasses of water in succession.

We waited for five minutes and then took a second blood pressure reading.

The diastolic reading was 85: it had dropped 40 points from a point of crisis to super normal after I went to the loo and then drank some water.

This was a very humbling moment. As I stared at the machine, I was both relieved to be back to normal but also aghast that, even feeling as lovely as I did on that day, the simple acts of not attending fully to my body’s needs to pee and to rehydrate completely had placed my body into a state of intense stress and me into a position of danger. My stubbornness in overriding these needs by pushing on to the pharmacy, rather than going home and attending to them, was completely exposed in that moment – necessarily so.

I began to reflect on how many times in my life I had overridden the needs to drink water and go to the toilet, as well as many other bodily needs, deferring all these needs to a time that was ‘more convenient’ – a time when I wasn’t busy or engaged in other activities.

Moreover, I also work in a profession where, oftentimes, it is seen as a mark of a child’s maturity that they can control their bladder for the duration of a teaching/learning session of up to two hours. This applies to we teachers, too, and we are the role models of bladder and thirst control.

I could not but marvel at my body’s exquisite sensitivity – how ignoring my bladder and the need for water affected my whole body adversely. I felt a deep appreciation for how instantly my body responded and returned to equilibrium directly once its needs were met. And I decided that, henceforth, any bodily need, no matter how insignificant or basic it may appear to be, will be addressed by me immediately… in line with my body’s communication of it. I reflected how a true rhythm excludes nothing – it is in the flow of all life. So I will never again be ‘too busy’ to attend to these basic bodily needs because I am engaged in ‘more important’ stuff… not even for a minute! My body is now an equal player in my life, no more a 2nd class citizen: we are now a democracy.

Inspired by Serge Benhayon who has long presented the need for us to care deeply for, and about, our bodies, as well as role modelling an absolute integrity in attending to the minute details of such self-care.




Read more:

  1. Self-care at work makes sense – why is it not common practice? 
  2. Your body is a living experiment

887 thoughts on “To pee or not to pee – should that even be a question?

  1. Yes Colleen, unfortunately for a lot of health care workers the question of whether to pee or not to pee right now is a real question. So often we put our patients before our bladder and ourselves and whilst we think this is a virtue it is not. In fact it is pure disregard and something that we need to learn not to do.

  2. It is so humbling to be reminded of the delicateness and sensitivity of our body. How every part works together to keep it going. It seems that our mind is the only thing that has another idea.

  3. What an awesome science experiment that is! It proves that self-care is important and that the body does not work with ‘we will do it when it is convenient’. The body just is and when it does not get tended to when it gives the slightest signals, let alone the big ones, it will have to go into a ‘managing mode’.

  4. The moment our mind thinks in discordance to what the body feels is the moment we hand over the reins to the part of us that does not have our best interests at heart. Our Soul is our true self and will always move in and with respect to the body it is enhoused within. Whereas our spirit is the part of us that moves in opposition to this and uses the physical form as a plaything to joyride through life with no respect for it as it knows it is immortal and will get another one when the body eventually withers and is discarded. It is always to our benefit to discern in which moment who exactly holds the reins that steer us through life.

  5. Taking the time to tune in and listen to our body and what it is communicating is super important as you have highlighted so simply here Coleen, and also paying attention to the detail no matter how small.

  6. When we override our bodies signals and what it needs, it really puts a lot of pressure and tension on areas of our body that needn’t be affected, so by our simple choice to do what is needed at the time, our bodies are left to do what they do so very well.

  7. Listening to our bodies and in particular responding to when we need to pee or not is a very practical way to honour ourselves and not put ourselves in an unnecessary state of tension.

  8. ” The pharmacist asked me, with genuine care, ” This is wonderful that the pharmacist knew what she was doing and how she was able to bring a reality check, as to how you were treating your body. So beautiful how wisdom is imparted to us.

  9. “My body is now an equal player in my life, no more a 2nd class citizen: we are now a democracy.” Well said Colleen and your body could only rejoice at your choice.

  10. Overriding our body is a full time job that requires to constantly shift our attention away from the body and denying it what is asking for. This is a pattern of movement we adopt and reproduce and sooner or later generates a state of dis-ease.

  11. Overriding the need to drink is a huge one for most people especially with the elderly, and it is so easy to get into the habit of not drinking enough. This surely would impact the body in a serious way, always having to struggle and draw water from other parts of the body to keep the vital organs going – it has to be a constant strain.

  12. I love how finely tuned and sensitive our bodies are to how we care for them and your example shows how important the basics of self care are.. the response from our body and impact they have our health and how quickly our body can respond when we do care for it.

  13. Yes, we can so often and so easily override what our body has been sharing even for just a few moments and complete or do whatever we deem as way more important or giving us something that we judge as being more enjoyable or rewarding in some way. This blog is a great example of how quickly things can turn around when we ignore these signs.

  14. Two incredibly simple things that if ignored or overridden can really affect our health. This should be shared with everyone for more importantly a lesson to not override our bodies and what we truly feel .. something I am constantly working on!

  15. Where we admit it or not the long- term effects of overriding what the body is asking us to listen to at every moment has its effects. Simple daily self- care acts are just the beginning of a myriad of examples that often deplete the body but we continue to ask it to provide us with all the support we need.

  16. No, this should not be a question! If we need to go we need to go! It’s crazy to hold on and ignore the impulse to pee. But this is just one example of the many other things that the body tells us and we ignore. It’s great to highlight the harm of this through this example.

  17. Oui Oui I agree. It is so simple when we need to pee, pee – when thirsty drink. Really life can be so simple if we allow it and stop sabotaging and bringing in complication.

  18. This is such a great question, I can catch myself saying ‘I will just do this this and this, and then I will go’ yet this is not on and my body suffers in the mean time.
    How well we love and support ourselves will directly effect how well we can love and support together.

  19. So fascinating to read how the simple act of not drinking sufficient water and peeing had such an impact on your blood pressure. Smart pharmacist to ask you the correct questions. Our bodies are amazing.

  20. Isn’t it amazing how there are these fantastic machines that can read the messages of the human body and what is even more fantastic still is in the way they can be interpreted, because these messages can be taken as signs of mere functionality or they can be used to open up the dialog between the person and their body. Which seems to always lead to a greater understanding and humbleness.

  21. Showing the huge impact overriding messages communicated from our body has on us and the importance of responding and honouring what we are feeling that allows our body to rebalance and realign itself.

  22. “even feeling as lovely as I did on that day, the simple acts of not attending fully to my body’s needs to pee and to rehydrate completely had placed my body into a state of intense stress and me into a position of danger.” Isn’t it extraordinary how we have normalised a level of health and wellbeing that we often cannot feel, or feel but override, what our body is needing just to keep functioning on a basic level let alone support us as fully as it can if we look after it as fully as we can.

  23. Great example Coleen how we need to attend to our body’s needs all the time, and ignoring the basic need of hydration can put an unnecessary strain on the body. Rehydration is an important factor to our health as a whole.

  24. Wow Coleen thank you for sharing, it definitely highlighted the importance of listening to our bodies and not underestimating the effects of even going to the toilet when needed.

  25. A great sharing Coleen in highlighting how quickly our body can go into distress if we do not care for it as we should and also how quickly it can re-harmonize when we do. I can imagine many of us spend a substantial amount of time stressing our bodies unnecessarily and if this is true it’s hard to not wonder of the knock on effect this could have to our general health and well being in comparison to what it could be if we lived relatively free of imposing unnecessary stress upon it.

  26. This blog changed my life the first time I read it! The one thing it made me realize, is that I actually avoid drinking water sometimes as I know that I will need to go to the toilet through the day and was afraid I didn’t have time, if I did need to go. I would hold on too, for ages, if I did need to go! This was the deep level of disregard I was in, this quirky, brave and profound blog has changed my life and my relationship with the loo, I never hold on and drink much more water now, thank god.

  27. It is amazing just how much our body is telling us all of the time and this is a great example of what happens when we ignore its signals to us which most of us do most of the time. It is hardly surprising that we are so unwell as a species. Imagine how our health statistics could be transformed if we all started to listen to our bodies.

  28. This example just goes to show that what the mind thinks is not always in sync with what the body feels. Learning to sync these is the pathway to true health and vitality.

  29. When we stop to feel it, there is a beauty to feel how one part of our body can affect the flow of the whole; reminding us that collectively one person also affects the whole. Does this not bring to bear an added element of responsibility knowing that if we ‘lose it’ it enables others to slide too?

  30. The simplicity of basic self care and the vitality it brings to life really is amazing. Complicated or tense matters can be broken down when a lack of self care isn’t impacting the situation.

  31. The self care that we can offer to ourselves is not a ‘big work’, but a simple attendance of our more detailed and everyday needs.

  32. To pee or not to pee is the same thing as asking “to abuse ourselves or not”. This definitely ought to never be a question.

    1. Well said Elizabeth, basically it is always self abuse to ignore what our body is telling us. I used to ignore my body’s messages probably 99% of the time, but I am working hard to now reduce this to as close to zero as I can.

  33. I sometimes feel like I’m waiting for a big wake up call from my body to shock me enough into consistently caring for myself in a deeply loving and nurturing way. I’m learning how to but the consistency is not there yet.

  34. Always awe-inspiring to hear of how our bodies are so willingly eager to support us to return us to a harmonious state of being. A finely tuned, delicate and super sensitive instrument that serves to guide and support us to live our Soulfulness. The only prerequisite required to be in true command with this instrument is the willingness to listen to, read and surrender to the truth of the messages that always reflect the effects that our choices have on us, and what needs to change in order for us to live with a deeper connection to our Soul.

  35. So true I have overridden the natural urge to drink water and pee, it maintains a sort of anxiety when I do not honour how I feel, I have gone to food instead or got on to a task instead of peeing or drinking…time to turn our priorities around and make it about self-care first.

  36. Your title offers a far greater enquiry Coleen – how well do we listen to our body and where is our level of care when we do not. There are so many ways in which we not only ‘do not listen’ but we attack and abuse this part of us that so loves us deeply and waits with all the wisdom we need to live a loving, nurturing and evolving life.

  37. Your words remind me Coleen how we celebrate and champion giving up smoking or drinking alcohol, but in truth this is just a small step. It’s great that we choose to stop poisoning ourselves, but wow there is so much further we can go with listening, measuring and hearing what our body has to say. It is responsive to life in the most sensational way. We think flowers are delicate and precious – but isn’t this in reality like a bird of paradise marvelling at the beauty of a brick? We need to realise just what and how amazing that we are.

  38. This is a very sobering incident Coleen. I know that I have done the same. I sometimes completely forget to drink water through the day, though I have focal points which I now cannot ignore – a glass of warm water first thing in the morning with minerals in it, then a peppermint tea. Make sure I drink something around 11am, mid-afternoon and with dinner.

    1. I think we can all relate to overriding the body’s signals in this way. By not tending to the basic needs of the body we create a situation that then needs urgent attention further down the track. And that is the whole point – that there is a part of us (our spirit) that gets very identified with all that it creates even though all that is created is not of the love that we are (our Soul). And while it may be difficult to accept that we wilfully create situations that are harmful to us in order to feel self-satisfied at this level, that is not to say it is not happening on a daily basis within each of our lives.

  39. Talking to a friend the other day she was saying that nurses sometimes have 9 hour shifts and they don’t have time to go to the toilet. This is silly. We all have time to go to the toilet. I know I have put off going at work at times because I have felt there was no one else to do my job and I could not leave my position at the till but this is not true. If I collapsed at work someone else would step in or the till would be shut down for a wee ( pun not intended) while. We let a belief or an ideal run us to our own detriment and it is just not necessary and more than that it is causing us internal discomfort and consequent harm and it is also not having any let up from the rush and continual motion we have set ourselves in. This all has a knock on effect to everyone else and tells others that they don’t have to honour or take responsibility for their bodies either.

    1. Totally Elaine. In the past when I had back to back early morning meetings I was still so tense that I would put off going to the loo in case I disrupted the meeting in any way. Now I just freely leave the meeting when needed!

  40. No Coleen it should not be a question but the reality is, it so often is. Why is it that we over ride the very clear messages our body conveys to us? Thank you for raising my awareness and giving me much to ponder on.

  41. You really have showcased something that I have done a lot and still do at times, that is to hold on going to the toilet because I am busy. Which is such a bad excuse, for not honouring what my body is telling me. I will certainly bring a lot more awareness to this post having read your blog.

  42. Wow such a simple example of not honouring the body and what a major impact to what it causes. Really goes to show how every little detail counts and we cannot ignore anything as we really do not know the damage it may cause.

  43. I know those moments at work when there is so much going on that peeing is the last thing on the agenda. But when I listen to my body and take the time to pee my body is then less anxious and I’m able to work better. Taking the time to stop is so important. It’s our body’s way of saying ‘pause for a moment’!

  44. ‘My body is now an equal player in my life, no more a 2nd class citizen: we are now a democracy.’ This is brilliant when so many of us are ignoring the messages from our bodies until it is too late and illness and disease take their toll. The mind can so overrule our real needs that we become very distant from the bodies innate wisdom. Re-awakening our relationship with our true feelings is essential to a healthy body and mind.

    1. Playing games with our mind is what often leaves us on the back foot when it comes to self-care. The knowing and impulses we ignore are often leading us on the path that is far from a life of true vitality.

    2. I love your comment Elaine. It so clearly shows how we have ended up with the governments that we have. Because we have not lived as a ‘democracy’ with our innately wise body but overruled it with our mind, we end up with government that is a reflection of this . . . and then we complain about it!

  45. Overriding what our bodies are constantly expressing is just so disregarding. Your blog Coleen is a powerful reminder to deeply honour, listen and respond to all that our bodies convey.

  46. This experience highlights how essential it is to be fully present and attentive to every detail with our body and what we are feeling so that we do not disconnect and push through life living from our head that distracts us from being aware of our body’s sensitivity.

  47. Such a simple example highlighting the sensitivity of our body and how it immediately responds to rebalance itself when we start to take care of ourselves.

    1. Yes, I love that the body doesn’t say – “you neglected me so I am going to neglect you for the same amount of time – see if you like it!” It doesn’t hold a grudge, it simply recognises its needs have been met and rebalances.

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