Updated: Aug 11
Mindfulness is a real-life skill that helps us stay calm and maintain focus in the midst of real-life challenges. But with the near-continuous updates on the Coronavirus, it can be easy for mindfulness to slip from our awareness and instead anxiously fixate on the health and safety of our family and loved ones. While you should, of course, take all necessary precautions and follow the guidelines of Government agencies, medical professionals, and reputable news sources, it might also be helpful to consider ways in which a more mindful approach to your health and wellness can help boost your immune system from the inside-out. Dr. Sheila Patel, Chief Medical Officer at The Chopra Centre, offers these 8 mindful tips to help you stay calm and support your immune system during these challenging times:
Engage in meditation — Meditation increases expressions of genes that are beneficial to the immune system. In addition, stress hormones can reduce the effectiveness of immune cells, so by reversing the stress response with meditation, we support our immune function.
Breathe — Doing some slow, belly breathing can calm the mind, which in turn strengthens the immune system. When we slow down the breath, we calm the stress response that can weaken the immune system. Try counting to 4 or 5 with each inhalation and exhalation to slow down your breathing. You’ll notice the effects right away!
Get good sleep — Sleep has been known to boost T-cells which help us fight disease, especially viral diseases. Get at least 7-8 hours of natural, restful sleep.
Eat well — Eating a healthy, organic, plant-based diet gives us the phytonutrients we need for healthy immune function. Plants are full of the healthy vitamins and micronutrients that keep our cells healthy, like Vitamin C, Vitamin A, zinc and other trace elements needed to support immune cells.
Get regular exercise — Simple daily movement, such as walking, can keep your stress levels down, which in turn supports the immune system; however, if you are not feeling well, give your body the rest it needs by reducing activity. Try doing some gentle yoga at home to keep yourself moving and reduce stress.
Use social media mindfully — It’s important to stay informed, however checking your phone every two minutes to see if there is another development in the story will only serve to put you on edge. Instead, when you get an urge to grab your device, try acknowledging the impulse and taking a deep inhale and exhale and repeating this simple mantra to restore peace and harmony: Shanti (shan tee).
Connect with loved ones — As schools shut down and people stop shaking hands, it’s important to maintain connections with those that we trust and love. Interpersonal connection has been shown to reduce stress and increase happiness. As much as possible check-in with those you love even if it’s just a video chat, call or text.
Consider supplements — If you’re constantly on the move, or don’t have access to fresh-cooked meals, supplements can help provide vitamins and minerals essential for a robust immune response. Additionally, many herbs can help to support. She recommends taking herbs such as ashwagandha, amalaki, holy basil, echinacea, and elderberry. Although we don’t know some of the exact mechanisms of action, many of these herbs have been known to increase the activity of immune cells that help us fight infection or can reduce the severity of symptoms if we do become ill. Of course, always be sure to check with your practitioner before beginning any regimen of supplements.
Lastly: Stay Positive
Governments are hard at work to get us a vaccine and specific antiviral treatments for this virus. Until then basic preventative measures, and the immune-boosting activities detailed in this article, can help you feel empowered and less stressed during this time of uncertainty. You can read the full article HERE and keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 updates on the World Health Organisation's (WHO) website HERE. Wishing you much calm, good health, and peace. Be well.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. Take whatever I have offered here with a pinch of salt and a big scoop of self discernment.