The coronavirus pandemic has brought our world literally to a stop, without a road-map on where this will lead. Since we have not yet a vaccine, nor a proven treatment for the coronavirus, our best defense, besides avoiding contact with the virus, is our immune system. Most of us know that for our immune defenses to work at optimal level, we need to stay hydrated, get enough sleep, eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, as well as take some supplements, such as Vitamin D, Vitamin C and Omega 3. Yet, we often ignore the fact that stress and anxiety drastically reduce the function of our natural protection system. Deepak Chopra writes in his book, Quantum Healing, “Our immune system is continuously eaves-dropping on our thoughts and feelings.” Research corroborated this notion: chronic stress results in a suppression of our immune system, which leads to a greater tendency to develop inflammation and in an impairment of the DNA repair mechanisms.
Dr. Laura Kubzansky, a Harvard professor, reported that among more than 6000 participants of her study, those who had the highest level of “emotional vitality” – characterized by enthusiasm, optimism, a sense of purpose, and the ability to face life’s stresses with emotional balance – had a significant lower likelihood of developing heart attacks, strokes and inflammation. These and other studies show that inner balance is one of the most important keys to staying healthy and well.
More than ever, this is the time where we need to trust in and rely on our innate potential to heal and stay well. Which is why learning how use the power of the mind-body connection needs to be one of the most important objectives for all of us.
Here are a few suggestions that will help you to establish more emotional balance that can in turn support your health, healing and boost your immunity.
1. Give your mind reasons and motivations on why you want to be healthy and well.
This may sound like a no brainer. Yet, when it comes to motivation, we can either be driven by fear, or by joy and purpose. You may have recently spent much more time worrying about all the terrible things that could happen to you and your loved ones, rather than thinking about the best possible outcomes for all of you. To boost your immune system, you need to present your mind with a positive and uplifting vision on all the benefits you and those you care about have from being healthy and well. The best way to do this is to make a list of all the things that healthy energy and vitality would allow you to enjoy. Examples include playing with the kids, going for hikes, biking, swimming, traveling. It doesn’t matter that some of these motivating reasons are not possible to experience right now. What matters is that you are confidently looking forward to them. After all, your mind, especially your subconscious, doesn’t distinguish between reality and fiction. So whatever you imagine it assumes it is real.
2. Then visualize yourself
as being calm, confident, as well as staying healthy, vibrant or healing swiftly with ease. Visualize yourself as the positive, joyful, energized, but also relaxed and collected person you want to be during, and after, this time.
3. Take every day at least 10-15 minutes to center, relax and stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system.
This part of your autonomic nervous system shifts your body out of stress and survival mode into a state of rejuvenation and healing. Meditating, listening to calming music, being in nature, coloring, petting an animal and taking a bath are just some examples on how to turn on your parasympathetic nervous system.
4. Give your sympathetic nervous system, which creates the fight-and-flight response a break,
by limiting your exposure to the news once or twice per day, by avoiding obsessive “Googling” or consuming anxiety-triggering messages on social media.
5. Visualize how you want your body to respond and fend off the virus.
There are 4 ways your immune systems defends you from viruses:
- T-cells and Natural Killer cells (NK cells) continuously patrol the body, searching for cells that may have been invaded by a virus. Once these immune protectors detect such an infected cell, they are able to isolate, dissolve and eliminate the cell, and thus prevent the virus from spreading.
- Interferon: Cells that are infected by a virus produce small proteins, called interferon, which block the replication process of the virus and signal to T-cells and NKs that an infection has occurred.
- Antibodies: Once the body came in contact with a virus, it develops antibodies, which are small proteins that recognize viruses and stick to them. Once an antibody binds to a virus, the virus is neutralized and no longer capable of infecting host cells. Antibodies also facilitate the destruction of the virus through macrophages, another group of immune cells, which literally engulf and dissolve the viral particles.
You don’t need a medical degree to activate your self-healing abilities. Dr. Bernie Siegel, a pioneer in using the mind-body connection to support the healing process, found that imagining the immune cells like little fish eating away at the intruder can have remarkable results.
Use your creativity to visualize immune cells like little guardians diligently keeping watch on possible intruders. Imagine your cells calmly neutralizing a virus by pouring a mixture of superglue and hand-sanitizer on it, and then presenting the captured germ to Pac-man like cells, that are eager to chew it up.
Join me this Thursday, April 2nd at 9AM PT / 12PM ET on Empowerment Radio, and learn more about how you can use your mind to boost your natural defenses, while staying calm and centered during this most turbulent time. You may also join me on Facebook Live.