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This is Part One in a Two Part Series. Watch for Part Two next week.

I needed to do a grocery run today. I wasn’t out of food, but I was out of some necessities and fresh fruits and vegetables. On my way to the grocery store I stopped at a little local health food store. It sells natural products and homeopathic remedies, and I bought some things that will help support my immune system.

I was the only customer in the store, and at the register I had a chat with the owner; as a small business owner myself, I’m starting to feel anxiety about the future. But he was as calm as could be, and he, a naturopath and healer, reminded me of what we know about how anxiety impacts the immune system.

When we engage our system in fight or flight and have adrenaline pumping through our body, cortisol gets released, and effectively all our resources are going towards pumping our heart too fast and engaging all our larger muscles to get ready to fight or flee. That’s a fantastic response to seeing a lion in the trees beside us; less helpful to an ongoing and amorphous danger.

That fight-or-flight response also means we don’t have many resources left to help us repair our bodies and immune systems, so when we do get a virus or bacteria attacking our body, we have fewer resources to respond to it.

The shop owner reminded me of the critical importance of managing our states of mind and our anxiety as a way to provide more support to our bodies, our immunity, and our health overall. And of course, when we’re calmer we are better able to focus on how to help others.

We all need to stay informed, but if all we do is watch the news 24/7, we’re going to be in a constantly anxious and overwhelmed state. I’m trying to set aside an hour or two a day to take in the news, and spend the rest of the time trying to live my life as calmly as possible. We can do the work we need to do, take care of the people around us (at a distance), and sleep, meditate, walk outdoors if we can, listen to music—whatever helps us stay calm and strong during these tricky times.

I’d love to see your own calming methods—how are you keeping your anxiety in check?