Transforming Crisis into Opportunity
Updated: Nov 4, 2022
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The pandemic is not something any of us could have predicted. It has disrupted our way of life, placing certain aspects of life on pause and taking us out of our usual routines for over 2 years thus far. The new variants have further prolonged this period, making it almost impossible to predict when things will shift.
There is an important conversation regarding the pandemic, however, that we are missing. While this is not something we ever would have chosen to have happen, it does provide us all an opportunity to assess and up-level our self-care strategies. It is possible to be proactive during this time by taking a commonsense approach to shoring up the immune system. You can strengthen your immune system from the inside out in addition to the measures you may already taking to protect yourself from the outside in, such as wearing a face covering, getting vaccinated, and maintaining the recommended social distance of 6 feet.
The factors over which we DO have control include simple things like exercise, sleep, nutrition, stress management, and caring for any chronic conditions. Something as simple as a short walk has been found to create a massive boost in our natural killer cells.
Did you know that in approximately 94% of COVID-19-related deaths, people had an average of 2.6 pre-existing health conditions? In fact, a member services representative at my bank shared with me that in all of her numerous dealings with banking customers during the past 7 months involving COVID deaths, she has only heard of 1 death of someone who was in full health.
With the right information, we can be empowered to take right action and not live in fear. In fact, the stress we place upon ourselves with fear and worry is a well-known drain to the immune system. Much research has been done on this phenomenon. The nervous system mediates the immune system. The good news is that our brains are the most powerful pharmacy there is! The following are a few examples of this.
In a pioneer study performed with medical students over a 10-year period, students’ immunity went down every year for the 3 days around exam time. The students had fewer natural killer cells, which fight tumors and viral infections. They all but stopped producing immunity-building gamma interferon, and infection-fighting T-cells only weakly responded to test-tube stimulation.
Candace Pert, a neuroscientist, pharmacologist, and author of the book Molecules of Emotion found through her research that a neuropeptide and a virus enter a cell using the same receptors. Consequently, the state of our emotions will affect whether or not we succumb to viral infection.
Research by epigeneticist and author of the book The Biology of Belief Bruce Lipton also suggests that the stress response from fear, worry, and anxiety suppress the immune system. In addition to the disruptions this time has imposed upon us and possible isolation from our social networks, the constant bombardment of the media has undoubtedly elevated our stress hormones, such as cortisol.
Feeling stressed about all of this? Be assured that the stress itself is not necessarily creating these outcomes, but our responses to that stress.
Strictly speaking, the recommended physical distancing does not have to mean social distancing. Are you staying connected to loved ones and your support system, even if only virtually? Your relationships are very important to your health.
When you work with me at WellFit by Jennie, I look after all aspects of your well-being, providing you support and a way to exercise safely. How can I help? Reach out for your free conversation today!