Lately, I've been thinking and studying about the harm we do to our immune systems when we're constantly exposed to fear and panic.
Then I found this helpful article, posted Mar. 14, 2020 in Psychology Today. The following excerpts by Alane K. Daugherty, Ph.D.explain how fear and panic take a heavy toll on our immune system.
"The panic surrounding the coronavirus ... is making us all more susceptible to its potential spread...."
"Your emotional health is intricately linked to your immune system....Your immune system cells travel throughout your body and defend it against antigens, such as viruses. Unrelenting cortisol, your primary stress hormone, suppresses your immune system by reducing the number of its virus-fighting cells."
"To make matters worse, ‘low-grade cortisol baths’ seem to be the biggest immune system culprit of all. These ‘baths’ are smaller influxes of cortisol all day long, primarily due to a stress dominated thought process,... primarily repetitive and negative...."
To you help counteract fear and panic, here are three easy tips, anyone can do."
1. Simple, full breathing is remarkably helpful and fast-acting. As you inhale, feel air expand your lungs from your collarbones to your upper belly. Rest your tongue on the floor of your mouth. As you exhale, imagine exhaling fear and panic.
2. When you notice fearful thoughts, tell yourself, "even though I'm scared, Right Now, I'm OK." Look for you for something you haven't noticed before. This helps break a downward slide into fear. And thirdly...
3. Be playful and engaging. Find a calming thought or gesture that connects you to another person, in a gentle, light-hearted way. This shifts the brain out of high alert and back to peace and calm.
I hope you are all finding playful, creative and innovative ways to adapt to these uncharted times.