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?

6 thoughts on “Staying Calm in a Crisis is Good for your Immune System”

    1. Dominique Dennery

      Hi Lorna. I can picture you doing just that! Music is so good for our soul. Glad your Dad is doing well and in your care.

  1. DragonflyTraveller

    Because I am a manager of 30+ people, at the beginning of this last week, when not a lot of reliable information was available about COVID-19, I was consuming as much reliable information (CDC, WHO, PHAC, provincial ministries of health, etc.) as I could. But I’ve calmed down now–or maybe I’m more confident in the decisions being made by government authorities. As you, I’m only catching up now. I am focussing on me. Like on the plane, I am putting the oxygen mask on my face first so that I can help others. Thank you, Dominique, for this article. -f

    1. Dominique Dennery

      Hi Fiona, I do hear you. Taking care of your team must have demanded all your energies. Glad you are able to take care of you and see to your longer term health and resilience as you weather this storm.
      I too have been reassured by the measures taken by our federal government and actually provincial and municipal levels too. Since writing this post and the next one to appear next week, I have stopped going out in public places altogether and am buying on line. Doing my share. All the best!

  2. Julianne Dunbar

    Thank you Dominique!! Very on point! I attended a mindfulness work shop 2 weeks ago and I am now doing a 30 day on line mindfulness challenge through MindWellU. It has been just what I needed!

    1. Dominique Dennery

      Hi Julianne. Thanks for sharing your practice. I will look it up! It’s wonderful to see leaders juggling many responsibilities like yourself, give the example of self-care and mindfulness.
      Wishing you well during these challenging times.

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