Gloomy feelings and negative thoughts lurk in these times but actually weaken our immune system. What can we do to stay in balance both mentally and physically? This article shares 8 valuable pieces of advice with you. “Make conscious stress reduction a top priority in your life. Set aside as much time as possible for everything that relaxes you.”
When you get into a relaxed state, the parasympathetic nervous system ‘turns on’ and your body is able to activate its self-healing capacity.
We all know that fear is a bad counselor. Fearful feelings, insecurity, and worrying cause a lot of stress hormones in our blood, which weakens our immune system and our health deteriorates. The negative spiral of thoughts leads to exhaustion. The question is: how can we maintain the best possible balance both mentally and physically under challenging circumstances? Following is my list of suggestions.
8 pieces of advice: this is how you stay mentally and physically in balance in difficult times
1. Practice loving self-care
Your body is doing its very best for you day and night. Usually, we take this for granted and we don’t think about it for a second. But your body is incredibly beautiful, complicated, and intelligent. About 100,000 chemical reactions take place every second per cell. When you know that we have some 37 trillion (37,000 billion) cells, our bodies are nothing short of a miracle. So take care of it as best and lovingly as possible. Get in touch with it. Give your body the attention and care it deserves.
2. Realize you always have a choice
How do you practically deal with something you don’t want and can’t change? As long as we feel resistance or resistance, it costs us needlessly extra energy. The energy that we desperately need to stay as healthy as possible and to be able to do all those things we want to do. Acceptance, on the other hand, creates more space. Space to sometimes distance yourself from the whole situation, space to perhaps even see new opportunities.
At first glance, there seems to be nothing to choose from in the current situation. When something serious happens like the outbreak of a pandemic we are all in the same dire situation. It becomes even more difficult if we also continue to receive alarming messages. Nevertheless, there are countless moments in a day when you really do have a choice: let yourself be carried away on the wave of fear and panic or grab onto the lifeline of trust.
Do you produce fear sweat or sports sweat? Do you start all your sentences with ‘I’m afraid that…’ and ‘If only not…’ or do you go with ‘I have every confidence that…’? Try all these example sentences and you will immediately experience the difference in the feeling they evoke in your body.
3. Feel good hormones
Research shows that a positive mindset can boost your immune system. Therefore, try to consciously formulate positive thoughts and cultivate positive feelings. Think intensely about moments when you felt an enormous love for something or someone, for example, the birth of your child. Look at pictures of your loved one. Cherish the moments of carefree joy and recall them as vividly as possible.
Are you sensitive to bad news? Then consider not following everything minute by minute. Choose consciously what information you take in.
4. Consciously seek relaxation
We now know that long-term stress is one of the biggest causes of serious chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Relaxation is the opposite of stress and ensures a better functioning immune system. Therefore, make conscious stress reduction a top priority in your life. Set aside as much time as possible for anything that relaxes you.
Research shows that meditation is the most effective and healthiest way to relax. Meditation is about slowing down your breathing in the silence. When you slow down your breathing, you slow down your brain waves. This way you enter a different state of consciousness so that your brain starts to control your body differently. If you meditate regularly, you naturally experience less fear and anxiety, because your fear center in the brain literally shrinks. On the other hand, thanks to regular meditation you are able to feel more and more confident in yourself and your body and make calm, balanced decisions.
5. Choose the power of repetition: affirmations
The biological effects of your mindset are indisputable: thoughts, words, and feelings can both protect and damage our health. A positive way of thinking, feeling, and living life is healing, while a negative mindset affects your mental and physical well-being.
Repeatedly doing affirmations (powerful positive sayings, in this case about your health) causes your brain to take them as true at some point. This not only strengthens your confidence but also ensures positive biological effects in your body. At first, these affirmations may feel crazy or forced. But take it from me that the power of repetition really does its job. That’s just how your brain works (and I speak from experience). Therefore, consciously choose positive thoughts when you have to wait somewhere, write them down or say them aloud while looking in the mirror. This way you slowly but surely develop a little more confidence in yourself and in your body.
Suitable affirmations if you are concerned about your health are, for example, “I am safe. I have faith in the wisdom and strength of my body. I’m feeling good. It gets better every day. I am happy and grateful for my health and that of my loved ones. I am very strong. I am fit and vital.’
6. Visualize your way around
To visualize is to see (with closed eyes) in your mind as vividly as possible with all your senses the desired situation. You can do this in several ways. You can go to your favorite place in your mind. Perhaps that is a mountain top, a beach, or an alpine meadow. If you’re having a hard time imagining the place, you can review photos or videos first so you can remember what it looked like. Or you can opt for a guided visualization where all you have to do is listen to a voice that takes you to that safe and secure place.
Visualization has a positive influence on your immune system because it helps you to get into a relaxed state. When the body experiences this relaxation response, the parasympathetic nervous system ‘turns on’ and the body is able to activate its self-healing capacity. Relaxation, therefore, has a positive influence on your immune system.
From research done on cancer patients, we know that visualizations that are specifically aimed at the immune system can lead to the production of more immune cells that also have a greater capacity to disable cancer cells. All you need for visualization is a place where you won’t be disturbed. Visualization works best if you slow down your breathing for a few minutes beforehand and do it regularly.
7. Enjoy the little things
Normally we are so busy with the issues of the day that we get easily distracted. Moreover, we usually operate on autopilot. As a result, we often lose sight of all the beauty that surrounds us every day, both in and around our home. That’s why I invite you to take a conscious look at all the details of that painting in the hallway you walk past every day.
See how nature does exactly what it’s supposed to do in every season. Focus your attention on the beautiful colors of the great tit in your backyard. Looking differently will eventually lead to amazement about the beauty of all those ‘small’ big things in your own environment. This way you cultivate more positive feelings.
8. Keep your sense of humor
Of course, there are situations where there is very little to laugh about. Yet it is important for the immune system that you try to keep your sense of humor. Laughter causes the production of endorphins that are pain-relieving and give a pleasant feeling. By smiling, you signal your body that it is safe, which causes a feeling of relaxation. So binge-watch without any guilt those funny cat or baby videos on YouTube or just laugh for no reason until you really start laughing.
9. Believe in the best possible outcome
Many scenarios are conceivable in every situation, even in a difficult or apparently hopeless situation. It’s normally very human to be preoccupied with the worst-case scenario, let alone when things in your life aren’t going the way you want. But the worst outcome is just one of many conceivable outcomes. For your peace of mind and your health, it is important to focus on the best possible outcome. Consciously pay attention to this and try to see it in front of you as clearly as possible. Link it to positive expectations.
With these suggestions, you can slowly but surely experience more and more confidence in your body, in yourself, and in the future. I wish you a lot of health, positivity, and confidence.