STRENGTHEN THIS IMMUNE SYSTEM

These days everyone is concerned about strengthening their immune system, and for good reason. There are many things that we can do to accomplish this. I, personally, take a few supplements, do my best to eat right, try to get as much sleep as I am able and workout. Strengthening your immune system is not a one shot deal. It is not as if on Monday you can take a vitamin and say, “great I am good for the week.” This is how it works for your physical immune system. Today, I would like to talk to you about an even more important immune system we need to strengthen. One that affects not only how you feel physically, but how you feel emotionally and spiritually as well.

What I am talking about is your spiritual or emotional immune system. Both immune systems are vital to your overall well-being, but I contend that your emotional immune system is of even greater importance. Why do I say that? I say so because your spiritual and emotional states have a great impact on how you feel physically and the strength of your physical immune system. For example, think of how you feel when you are worried or stressed about something. You certainly cannot be in a good emotional state. Prolonged over any length of time and you begin to feel tired and worn down. Your bodies energy is being focused on handling an event that has not, and may never, actually occur. What about emotional events that do occur? Say you have a moment of discord with your spouse. You have elevated heart rate, your blood pressure increases, you release lactic acid into your system. (Yes, all of this really happens when you get angry) What happens later in the day? Perhaps you develop a headache. Maybe your stomach is upset and you don’t eat as you should. You could be tempted to have a alcoholic drink to ‘calm the nerves’. How does all of this affect your physical body and its ability to fight off disease and illness? I think you can certainly see that is would leave you in a more vulnerable state.

Why is strengthening this immune system so important? Just like our physical immune system it is something we must do every day. We cannot foster a feeling of inner peace one day and expect to be good for the rest of the week. We must take care of our emotions and feelings everyday. Check in with ourselves to see where are focus and mindset are. Just as taking care of our physical immune system supplies us with a layer of protection for our bodies, we must form a ‘protective bubble’ of emotional protection around us as well. We can do this in many different ways. We can keep a journal to help record and vent our thoughts and emotions. We can start a daily practice of meditation to help calm and reset ourselves. We can watch funny movies to help encourage laughter and taking things lightly. My favorite boost for my emotional immune system is to surround myself with people and things that encourage and inspire me. Whether that is my inspirational calendar or having coffee with an inspirational friend, both leave me in a healthier emotional state than I was before.

Another important aspect to remember about this is that you cannot always see things that might affect your emotional and spiritual health. A person can appear perfectly healthy and may share germs with you that may make you sick if you are not careful. You usually never know when you are going to run into someone who may be feeling ill. That is why it is important to keep up your immune system in advance. The same holds true for things that may affect your emotions and spirit as well. This point was brought home during a conversation I had with my friend Russ the other evening. He mentioned there was a lady he worked with that seemed to bring everyone down. He mentioned having to put up a shield before even talking to this person so that their emotions wouldn’t bring him down. Sadly, we all know someone who seems to be perpetually in a negative state. It is not always that easy to predict emotional challenges. Sometimes it might be a song that really hits you on the radio. Perhaps the sight of dead animal on the side of the road. Often times, we may not even be consciously aware something has affected our spirit, just like the germs we cannot see. It could be a news story that was on in the room as we ate dinner. Maybe a conversation we overheard at work.

Regardless of the source of emotional ills, they are always out there. Just as you need to develop and strengthen your physical immune system daily, we need to put into place daily rituals that strengthen our emotional and spiritual immune system. It is of the utmost urgency that we begin to do this right away. Emotional challenges will affect us everyday. We need to be prepared and protected. Begin to develop your emotional immune system practices today. It can be as simple as reading from a book of faith or subscribing to and reading a positive social media page daily. In this case less in NOT more. Just like your physical immune system, the more you can do to strengthen your emotional and spiritual immune system the better.

Please feel free to leave your suggestions for strengthening your immune systems in the comments below.

WHY CORONAVIRUS CAN HELP US

Coronavirus has grabbed headlines across the globe. In countries like China, Italy and Iran have had devastating results of this terrible new disease. At the point of this post thousands of people have lost their lives because of it. There have been stranded cruise ships. There have been cases of prices being raised to insane amounts for products like hand sanitizer. Travel has become difficult and entire industries such as airlines are beginning to feel the economical fallout. Stores have seen shelves run bare of the most basic items as people fear quarintine. There is an increase in fear in everything from eating out at a restaurant to shaking hands.

None of these situations are ideal. The media has latched on to this and only increased the amount of fear that we are experiencing. According to the China CDC, fatality rates are 2.3%. Even that number is skewed. For example, death rates amoung those 80 and older is 14.8%, however, it falls to 0.4% if you are in your 40s and 0.2% in those ages 10 to 39. Even at 0.2% it is something to be concerned about no doubt. Thousands of people across the globe losing their lives to this disease is serious. Losing a lot of our elder who hold wisdom and guidance that would help our future is also very tragic.

How can any of this help us? What positive can we possibly take from a global pandemic? These are all great questions. According to the CDC, the above practices can go a long way to helping prevent you from contracting the coronavirus. Let us look at them one by one. The first is obvious – wash your hands. Do so, however, for at least 20 seconds using lots of friction. How many of us have really paid attention to the effort put into washing our hands? Not only can this help prevent the current issue we are concerned about, but several other health concerns as well. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. This is one a lot of do unconsciously. I know I often rub my eyes or stroke my beard when I am lost in thought. Covering your cough and sneeze with a tissue and then throwing that tissue away is also very important. Do not put it back in your pocket or leave it somewhere for someone else to throw away. Avoid contact with people who are sick and staying home when you are sick yourself. How often do we push ourselves because we have that project due at work, or worry about missing an important social engagement? I get it. I’ve been there. Sometimes we must practice some self-care to get back on track. Lastly, cleaning frequently touched objects and surfaces. Again, this is something that should happen all of the time and would reduce the spread of a lot of health concerns.

The important positive you can take away from all of this is how to use the fear coronavirus has caused. Instead of causing us to go into a panic, let us use to remind us of maintaining or in some cases enacting healthy habits we should have been doing all along. Make a concentrated effort on personal hygiene. Make sure our work areas are clean and disinfected. Speaking of work, when we are sick make sure to take time off if we need. It may end up saving the use of sick time in the future. Let us be reminded to live a healthy lifestyle including diet and exercise so that our immune systems are as strong as they can be. Develop an emergency plan with your family that includes what supplies to have on hand and looking after the sick and elderly. Remember to take needed precautions when traveling.

These are all things we should be doing but it may have taken an event such as the coronavirus to remind us how important they are. Fear can be a servant or a master. It is up to us to put any concerns that we have about this new illness to use for us and not against us. What I think the most important thing the coronavirus has reminded us of is the fact we are all human. In the last few years politicians, governments and leaders of all kinds have been trying to convince us that this group or that group is better than another. What a global pandemic such as this teaches us is at the end of the day we are all in this together. We are all human. It does not matter what city or country we come from. It does not matter what color we are. What matters is that we look out for our fellow humans. By doing so we will not only help contain this virus, we will also realize that important rule that helping other will end up benefiting us in the long run.