Breaking out of the fear cycle.
As much uncertainty as this pandemic is bringing, we can’t let fear take over our lives because this will cause our natural defenses to break down. We know that our state of health and the strength of our immune system plays a major role in fighting and processing the virus.
It seems difficult to stop fear when we can sense it all around us, and no matter how we try to calm our minds, it comes back at us.
So how do we come out of this fear cycle?
We need a clearer understanding of how stress is going from our minds into our bodies because then we can have more power to stop it. Setting up healthy boundaries and resetting priorities is something most of us have to learn when facing tragic news, as we are naturally empathic to the pain of others. However, we cannot empathize to the extent that we become depressed and collapse. Our priority is to protect ourselves. Our minds can only handle a certain amount of negative thoughts without becoming depressed and anxious. Therefore, it is now crucial to learn how to shield ourselves by watching the news selectively for our information and our benefit.
In this timeless quarantine, we also have to maintain a planned routine with active online activities and daily movement so we can stay healthy and productive. It may take more discipline at first to engage in online fitness and courses. Still, we will eventually adjust and adapt to transient conditions and enjoy all the opportunities the internet is providing.
To better understand how stress affects the body and especially the immune system, I am now inviting you to step out of the internet and social media and to pay attention to your health in ways you may not have before.
Just stop anything you are doing at this moment and let’s think about your incredible body that breathes for you since the minute you came to life. Acknowledge your heart, which beats night and day to bring oxygen to your organs so you can move, think and digest. There is usually no reason to look at these processes closer unless something is bothering you, in which case your doctor may order an X-ray, Ultrasound, or MRI. Since medical care and access to X-ray are now limited, we need to somehow diagnose and treat ourselves at home for the time being. It is a perfect time to develop a new skill, using our minds to explore what is happening inside our body.
How stress impacts your immune system
Let’s look closely at our very well-organized immune system. There is a whole microscopic world within us that is incredibly well organized. Our immune system is made of cells and chemicals that interact with each other to prevent us from getting sick.
“We have a powerful army of white blood cells here to do the job of attacking microbes, or any foreign invader that dares to enter our body. Those cells have descriptive names such as Killer cells, Helper cells, or Macrophages (big-eaters). They literally go to war with any organism that gets into the body they don’t recognize. They take it away through a very organized intervention, kill it and swallow it.” – Excerpt from The Health Threshold.
When our bodies are well balanced, those white cells receive the right signals to operate as our line of defense. Stress is a significant disruptor to this equilibrium because it makes our white blood cells less active.
Stress starts in our mind and initiates a chemical process in our brain that triggers an excess of the hormone called Cortisol in the blood. This is what causes our white blood cells to be less responsive. It makes us more vulnerable to the virus and less capable of clearing it. Cortisol is at the source of many health issues, and stress-induced. Knowledge is power, and just by becoming aware that stress causes high Cortisol, which is bad for you, it empowers your mind to control your reaction to stress better.
STRENGTHENING OUR IMMUNE SYSTEM: Nutrients and Breath Work
Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, there has been an overflow of information and products to build and improve immunity.
Supplements don’t act like medications. We take vitamins to replenish what is missing in the body so it can function well. We don’t stop disease with a substance; we regenerate a balance that helps us fight disease.
With this in mind, we can understand that immunity is not something we acquire by taking a handful of vitamins for a short time. Today our foods are much lower in nutrients than they were for our parents and grandparents. For this reason, I believe in taking at least a few major supplements regularly to maintain health. However, when we have an active lifestyle, especially intense physical exercise, or when we have a lot of stress, our bodies become more depleted, and it becomes crucial to have a good regimen of supplements.
So what can you do to optimize nutrition during this pandemic?
Remember that balance is what your body and mind need to protect you best from this virus. Supplements are additions to our diet; they complement what we don’t find enough of in foods.
What you put on your plate is still the priority. Fresh fruits and vegetables are not only a source of Vitamin C; they help the body detoxify and stay in a lower inflammation state. If you were already on a vitamin regimen, it’s not a time to stop it. If you are just starting to take supplements now to protect your immune system, start with “Maintenance doses”. It is not how much of the nutrients go into your body; it’s how much you are absorbing into your cells. Absorption depends on your digestive system, which is highly sensitive to stress.
One reason our immune system becomes weaker with stress is that we tend not to absorb nutrients well. Stress causes an imbalance of bacteria that leads to a “leaky gut,” and it doesn’t do its job at bringing the nutrients into the cells. We also want our cells to utilize the nutrients efficiently so we can derive energy from foods and supplements.
Maintaining our “Life Force”
Breathing well optimizes all the processes in our body, including nutrient absorption. When you practice breath work, you find you need lower doses of everything, including hormones and medications. Our Life Force is our vitality, our energy. The way we breathe plays a major role in our energy levels because it influences every function in our body. A well-oxygenated body is less likely to be tired or sick.
The Coronavirus targets the lungs, our breathing organs, the place where the exchange of oxygen occurs, and where life starts. It is very important to take care of our lungs and not smoke. As we are indoors with heaters and air conditioners that dry up our airways, we need to support our lungs even more.
In our modern society, we already breathe faster and more superficially than we should, paying little to no attention to our breath. We are not aware that the deeper and longer our breaths are, the stronger our breathing capacity, our life force, our health.
When we are in fear, our breathing pattern becomes even more disrupted, causing less oxygen to circulate through our organs. We may have more pain, our brain might become foggy, and our anxiety can worsen.
The benefits of a breath work practice are numerous, and we often underestimate our breathing capacity. We have small chest muscles that need to stay flexible to expand our thoracic cage so we can take deep breaths and support our lungs. There are skilled ways of doing this that have been practiced for a long time, and I encourage you to come practice with me in my videos on social media Facebook and Instagram /drevelyneleone