There is plenty of advice about improving our health and shoring up the immune system. We can eat well, we can take herbs and supplements and we can decrease our toxin loads through avoidance of pollution, consumption and detoxing the body. However, the biggest enemy to our immune system is rarely talked about. Perhaps because it's seen as so hard to avoid in the world we live in today.
It's literally a killer.
While stress in the short term, triggering cortisol release as part of our flight or fight response, can be a good thing, prolonged stress and tension takes a high toll on our immune system. Yet this is precisely the situation we're facing today as fear and tension seeps in from every direction. Fear of the getting sick from a virus where we hear about deaths daily via the media. Fear of freedoms being removed, threats of mandatory tracking and vaccinations which have had no long term testing. Cabin fever and the removal of the social interactions which normally keep us sane. Many have been forced out of work and don't know if that job will be there when this comes to an end.
So when this does come to an end and we start to come into contact with many more people again, what kind of vulnerable state will our immune systems be in? One that invites every pathogen in?
How can you centre yourself and learn to deal with stress? I don't think there is any one answer for everyone and likely the causes of stress are different for everyone. Some people meditate and one could say that meditation takes different forms for each individual, which don't necessarily look like what we might perceive as the traditional methods. For example it could be achieved through crafting, cooking, gardening, or whatever other interests calm and centre you.
It's worth remembering that even those who seem to be amazing at not letting stress get to them, still experience it; they have just found ways which work for them to handle it. So when it feels like there is no way that you will be able to remove stress from your life, realise that it's not so much a removal process as a redirection process and with time and practice it will become easier.
Our biggest hurdle for overcoming stress is likely fear and there is nothing like the threat of death or incarceration to trigger that. When it comes to death it's inevitable, so not exactly a fear we can escape by any method. The only ways to not have it looming over our lives constantly is to ignore it for the most part (what most of us do if we're entirely honest) or face the fact that it is inevitable and accept that when our time comes it comes (then ignore it..) For those trying to ignore it, having the media and pretty much everyone around them continually bringing up the presence of a potentially deadly disease is going to have their blood pressure up constantly, especially every time they remember why they aren't supposed to be going out. If that's you, just know that you are doing all you can to protect yourself and you are reducing your risk. Those who care about you are likely also doing all they can to keep you safe. If your social media is only raising your anxiety by discussing people they think are putting others at risk by ignoring the advice, then perhaps mute that part and just keep the positive people in your feeds. You don't need to let fear mongering be in your life and you deserve not to have it in your life.
Then there are those who would rather accept the risk of death than be cooped up, but you risk arrest or fines by going out. For some, all of the above things, cause anxiety, including the risk of death. However, there is more to freedom than just freedom of the body and you can free your mind while your body is captive. Albert Woodfox is living proof of that. This man was kept in solitary confinement for nearly 45 years, which is the longest of anyone. He survived it with his mind intact because he refused to lose his freedom in his mind. There will always those who try to exert power over you, but you don't have to give them that power.
Ultimately, you need to find a way to control what you can in your life and relinquish what is outside of your control. Your body can't take care of you if you are always fighting an internal war.