And the state of affairs near and far has changed a radical amount since my last newsletter one month ago due to the corona virus (pandemic).
Therefore in this article I thought I would just share some of my thoughts and suggestions around how we can best navigate our way through this experience and beyond.
I am actually finding it a little hard to write now, without coming across as an insensitive so-and-so. You see, I know I am going to die at some point. And I am actually ok with that. I also acknowledge we will all die at some time, and I am at peace with the thought of that as well. So with that inevitability, I am more interested in how I am living now, and how am I contributing to the well-being of the other people on this planet, plus how am I contributing to the planet and all its inhabitants as well.
So I am for LIFE and that is what I will be writing about today. How to experience more life in these times of uncertainty.
One of my favourite quotes is a great guide
“When I argue with reality I lose, but only 100% of the time.“
Therefore I ask myself, ‘What is the reality?’
In relationship to me personally, me within the community or region I live in, and within the broader global context.
Beyond myself, the ‘REALITY’ gets a little more confusing, especially because I don’t believe 100% of what is portrayed in mainstream media, due to differing agenda’s. I am sorry, but I just don’t trust everything I hear on the ‘news’.
So that brings me back to understanding what is the reality for me and within the community that I live in.
Here are some of the realities I have observed (noting I don’t know everything):
- There is a virus that is currently affecting the global community.
- The virus is most dangerous for the elderly or people with pre-existing medical conditions (especially respiratory conditions). Note: I recently saw an article where a 103 year old Chinese woman made a full recovery after contracting the virus.
- There are certain symptoms of the virus, which are similar to flu-like symptoms.
- The majority of people that contract the virus fully recover.
- According to online information the mortality rate of people contracting the virus is 4%.
- The point above does not account for all of the non-reported cases, which is likely to be much much higher (reducing the virus mortality rate to much lower than influenza).
The downside of fear
The fight, flight or freeze response, associated with the sympathetic nervous system, can be activated by a REAL physical threat or an IMAGINED threat based on thought alone.
Regardless of whether something is a real physical threat or an imagined threat (occurring in the mind), the body responds in the same way. One of the physiological responses from the activation of the sympathetic nervous system is disruption to the digestive system and lowering of the immune system, specially if the threat is experienced over an extended period of time.
The more fear we experience (based on a real or imagined threat) over an extended period of time, the more we compromise the effectiveness of our immune systems.
What this practically means for me, is to ensure that the narrative I listen to – which influences my thoughts and therefore emotions – is not overly emotive, catastrophizing, or negatively-oriented.
For me this means being VERY selective to the ‘news’ you let in (I stopped watching News 20 years ago and it has not been detrimental to my life experience – but quite the opposite). I am not ok with an emotive narrative around the facts, which is designed to create an emotional response (usually negative).
Be diligent and discerning of the information you tune into. If it is informative that is ok. If it feeds fear, then is not ok.
When it comes to the immune system. Informed is ok. Fearful is not ok.
Note: When I was doing some research for this article I had to stop, as there was so much doom and gloom related to the topic of corona virus that I felt overwhelmed and I could feel my stress response being triggered.
My prescription would be to tune into ‘news’ a recommended 1 time per day, and a maximum of twice per day. Don’t stay glued to it. You are unlikely to miss any essential information.
Fear and the Breath
One of the markers of good health is a slightly alkaline blood pH (around 7.4). As opposed to more acidic blood. Higher levels of oxygenation (oxygen rich blood) makes the blood more alkaline. In essence, more oxygen equals a healthier internal environment for your body and an upgraded immune system.
Unfortunately one of the downsides of experiencing fear is we tend to contract our stomachs, adversely affecting the diaphragm, therefore breathing more shallowly, and ultimately getting less oxygen per breath.
You actually might want to pay attention to your breathing when you are watching an emotive news piece. Just to enhance your personal awareness.
On the plus side you can do deep breathing exercises, using your diaphragm (so the stomach expands and contracts), thus relaxing the stomach (and aiding digestion), and drawing more oxygen into your body.
Breathe consciously and deeply and notice when you are contracting your stomach and shortening your breath. Deep breathing will also relax your mind.
Back to basics
Influenza is a virus that impacts millions of people every year. It is also something that we already have exposure to and take precautionary measures for. We also have a good idea of what sort of things boost our immune system, so we are less at risk to get sick, and are quick to recover.
If I want to enhance my immune system, and my general resilience to the stressors of life, I focus on:
- Getting enough sleep (7.5hrs plus).
- Staying well hydrated with water.
- Eating foods that are high in antioxidants (raspberries, spinach, kale, goji berries, red cabbage, etc.). Also eating, in general, more vegetables and fruit. Plus you might add to the mix more garlic, ginger and turmeric.
- Cutting out (ideally) or significantly reducing processed foods.
- Eating little to no sugar (cut out flavoured soda’s and large servings of fruit juice).
- Taking vitamin C tablets and a good quality multi-vitamin.
- Doing physical activity (to activate the circulatory and respiratory systems and help remove toxins from the body).
- Doing a daily meditation (to boost the immune system and activate the parasympathetic nervous system).
- Do stress reducing activities (spend time in nature, go walking, talk with inspiring and optimistic friends, take breaks, play with pets, etc.)
- Practicing good hygiene.
What are the positive by-products?
When we change our focus (and meaning) to something positive as opposed to something negative, we change our emotional state. When we change our emotional state, we create new chemistry in our bodies. A chemistry that is supportive of our health and well-being.
These are some of the positive benefits I have identified:
- People are spending more time with their families.
- Since a lot of events and public gatherings are being cancelled, people are freeing up more time (which they can use spending time with their loved ones).
- I personally am saving money as I am doing less social things.
- People are cooking more at home and therefore know what goes into their food (unless they are being lazy and eating processed foods…tut, tut, tut). Plus eating meals as a family.
- People are actually connecting with ‘strangers’ more as there is a common challenge.
- There is less pollution in major population centres (due to less carbon emissions).
- There is less traffic on the Bali roads – WOOOHOOOO!!!!
- People are pausing to reflect on what is most important to them.
- Circumstances are causing people to stop or slow down, which is so important for rejuvenation of the body, mind and spirit.
My final words
Don’t take in too much negative information.
Just enough to be informed, not too much that you become part of the collective fear.
Feeding fear is not good for your health.
Heart-based connection is great for your health. Serving others is great for your health. Being kind is great for your health. Connection to GRATITUDE is great for your health. Breathing deeply is great for your health.
Lets work together to reduce the fear, and elevate love, compassion, and kindness.
And if anyone does need help, strategies or a different perspective to navigate your way through this period – whether it is personally or professionally – don’t hesitate to reach out to me for help.
Want help with getting clear about you path, priorities and a sustainable plan? Then get in contact. Just reply to this email or head to my website or connect with me on Facebook. Also check out Process Your Limiting Beliefs (online) workshop if you want help with overcoming obstacles and getting clear of the stories and beliefs that are holding you back (and then processing them).