By Marguerite Ham, National Leadership and Executive Coach
Right now, all over the world, there is a lot of fear. There is some perfectly justified fear about our health, our family members who may be more susceptible to the virus, finding necessities, paying bills, our economy, the list goes on. Some of the fear is driven by the TV, media, social network, etc. Some fears we tumble around inside of our own heads over and over again. Remember, fear can paralyze us mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually and create stress which lowers our immune system.
The one thing we have complete control over is our thoughts! Even when those negative, challenging thoughts run through our minds, find a way to shift to a more positive thought. I know, it is much easier said than done!
When a negative, fearful thought shows up, pause, take a deep breath in through your nose, hold it for 4 seconds and then slowly release through your mouth. Focus only on your breathing, nothing else. (You can use this video as a timing aid.) Breathe in light and energy, breathe out stress and negativity. Find the quiet within yourself. Find your foundation.
When we experience anxiety, fear or stress, our bodies produce two hormones:
When high amounts of Cortisol are released in the bloodstream for a prolonged period of time (such as those associated with chronic stress,) they have been shown to have negative effects, such as: Impaired cognitive performance. Suppressed thyroid function. Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia. Decreased bone density. Decrease in muscle tissue. Higher blood pressure. Wow! That is a huge impact on our bodies.
When high amounts of Adrenaline are released in the body, it can be very helpful with the Fight or Flight response to help us in an emergency situation. However, like Cortisol, over prolonged periods of time and when Adrenaline becomes stored up in the bloodstream, it becomes more harmful than helpful. Insomnia, nervousness and lowered immunity toward illness are all connected to high levels of stress in the body.
Anxiety, stress, fear, all impact our immune systems. And, in these times, we need our immune systems to be strong to fight off the viruses we are exposed now and always!
Here is what I have been doing to keep my immune system strong:
Focus on what IS in our control right now. Finding ways to serve and support others. Remaining curious about how to shift the way we interact with each other and work. Like a lot of you, I have lost a lot of travel events, programs, conferences etc., which will have a huge impact on my income. Are these circumstances under my control? Not really! All of us have been impacted in some way by this worldwide pandemic. Focus on what IS in your control. Your thoughts! Find ways to stay positive, find ways to be creative with your work, with your families and children. Pause, right now and write down 5 things that are in your control at this moment...
Every human being is a leader. Each of us has the opportunity to be the example of strength, compassion, tolerance, understanding. Focus on converting the FEAR into FAITH! Faith in God, or whatever you believe in, (something bigger than ourselves), faith in humanity, faith in your friends and family, faith in yourself to not only survive but thrive during this uncertain time. Adversity invites us to go deep and discover who we truly are....who do you choose to be? We all can choose in this moment, to focus on what we CAN DO.