Somehow, years ago, I managed to manufacture a pain in my lungs exactly like the pneumonia I had experienced previously. Only it wasn’t pneumonia. It was fear.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit I also manifested insect bites exactly like those of bed bugs – in groups of three: breakfast, lunch and dinner. I didn’t have bed bugs. It was just fear.
No, I am not a hypochondriac. Do I have special powers? Probably not. When I can whip up a lottery win or something really good I’ll let you know.
If you are afraid of getting the Covid-19 virus, know first of all that fear works against you. Your body reacts to your mind (and vice verse), engaging the fight or flight/stress response. In this state you are more vulnerable.
Our brain doesn’t know the difference between real or imagined threat. Unlike days of old, today’s fearful threats are mostly imagined in our mind – and they’re chronic, setting us up for potentially poor health.
That’s not to say Covid-19 is an imagined threat. It’s real. Caution is good. Being unreasonably fearful of it is not.
Doing what we can to minimize stress and boost our immunity will serve us well. If you want to do more to protect yourself from the infamous virus, there’s definitely more that you can do besides the basic, prescribed protocols of physical distancing and washing hands, etc.
If the solutions below sound familiar it’s because I’ve been writing about them for years. Amazingly, the ways to strengthen your immunity are much like the ways to manage your weight, your stress and/or to strengthen your overall health. Here’s a different context.
To Strengthen your Immunity
- Be physically active. It’s a great stress reliever. Aerobic exercise, specifically, strengthens your heart and lungs.
- Practice deep breathing. It too, strengthens the lungs and calms you.
- Yoga helps lower stress hormones that compromise the immune system, while also conditioning the lungs and respiratory tract.
- Eat well. Consume whole foods, for example: vegetables and fruits and whole grains. Mushrooms, onions, garlic, ginger and many other foods are helpful to your immunity. Meanwhile, sugar and processed foods suppress your immune system.
- Get seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night. During sleep your immune system produces and releases proteins called cytokines. Cytokines aid cell-to-cell communication stimulating an immune response.
- Draw on positive emotions and maintaining social connections to buffer you. Positive emotions can override the biological effects of adversity. Try shifting your focus to love, gratitude…
- Do the things that bring you joy, meaning or purpose. It’s likely that wellbeing that comes from activities with meaning or purpose benefit your immune function directly.
- Use Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). EFT has been shown to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, alter DNA expression and improve immune function.
- Spend time in nature. According to Frontiers in Psychology, “Natural environments contain chemical and biological agents with known health implications. Many plants give off phytoncides… which reduce blood pressure, alter autonomic activity, and boost immune functioning, among other effects.
Consider this. You’re not likely to get the virus. A healthy immune system is working all the time. Do what you can to protect yourself and then let it go. That’s healthy. If you need support to do this just reach out.