Buddhist philosophy teaches us that if we do not care for our bodies, our ability to "think" is greatly hindered. Brain fog, depression, anxiety, stress, lack of motivation anyone?!
If this goes on long enough it can lead to more serious neurological dysfunction which is a chronic health problem in the U.S. and other developed countries. For example according to Neurologist Dr. David Pearlmutter and his team:
"There is evidence to suggest that individuals who consume a diet high in carbohydrates have an 89% increased risk of developing dementia, while people who consume a diet high in healthy fats actually reduce their risk by 44%."
It's not that carbs are bad, it's that we tend to eat too many and the wrong kinds. Much of the time negative thoughts and emotions are simply a result of poor brain function due to poor health. Everything is connected. Eating a lot of carbs vs healthy fats is going to reflect not only on how you feel physically, but how well your brain works too.
When it comes to the immune system, managing your brain's stress response is one of the single most powerful things you can do to make it robust, strong, and resilient.
Think about it, are you more of a fight or flight, or rest and digest kind of person?
As an elementary PE teacher, I developed the ability to distinctly recognize this.
After a few years in the classroom, I began to connect getting sick with being too stressed out.
I got so good I could feel it when I "broke" inside and then inevitably the nasty sinus infection, bad cold, sore throat or whatever was on tap would nail me. Luckily for me, those days are long gone. Do I still get sick? Sure but it's rare and never as bad as it used to be.
Learning how to avoid living in the "fight or flight" response of the autonomic nervous system is a big part of my coaching practice. I find that most of my clients spend so much time here that it is literally breaking them down and in turn putting their immune systems at a severe disadvantage. It is extremely unhealthy to feel like you can't ever quite escape that tiger tracking you. It's always lurking in the distance.
Those with a solid immune system are like Rocky Balboa and can take any punch thrown at them and still get back up! This includes the Corona Virus as the data is clearly showing. However, it shouldn't take a health crisis to pay attention to your health, but often that is exactly what happens whether it's a heart attack, diabetes, cancer, COVID-19, or anything else.
Developing a consistent spiritual practice of some kind is necessary if you expect your immune system to do what it's meant to. Be it meditation, spending time in nature, organized religion, or whatever you choose, it doesn't matter. What matters is that you find something that works for you, something that brings you peace and presence and quiets the background noise.
For most people, this means finding a way to be still, present with the moment, calmly focused on whatever they are engaged in. It doesn't take much. I find a few quiet minutes each day to be very powerful, especially when it's part of my daily routine. Ironically adrenaline can be effective as well! I enjoy mountain biking because it literally forces me to be completely present if I expect to stay upright, and I get a great workout to boot.
The body needs to be calm sometimes, just like it needs to move. When we are calm the body "repairs & heals" and gets to the housework it has been putting off. That's why sleep as I wrote about earlier is also a non-negotiable for a healthy immune system. What do animals do when sick or stressed? They rest and allow healing to take place.
Over time I have found some great resources to help with this. Emily Fletcher's book, "Stress Less Accomplish More" is a wonderfully modern take on meditation since we are "not all monks" as she says!
One of the early books I read on being present was Eckart Tolle's, "The Power Of Now". A great read with over 10,000 ratings and 4.5 stars. It gets a little deep at times, but I found it satisfying to really dig into this one.
The Calm App is my favorite tech approach thus far to being mindful with lots of variety and options. Lastly, Dr. Andrew Weil developed what is called the, "4-7-8 breath" and it is an excellent, quick, on the fly approach to calming the mind and body with powerful healing effects when done right.
If you care about your health and therefore your brain health, it's time to develop a spiritual practice that works for you. The state of your immune system depends on it. Do you want to be able to crush COVID-19 (and anything else) if it comes your way? Do you want to prevent disease or promote it? Do you want to be happier and stop living in fear?
I don't know about you but I want to be like Rocky, able to withstand all the punches and come back stronger than ever. It's your choice no one can do it for you.
If you need some help cultivating a powerful spiritual practice please subscribe to Break-Free Wellness and/or leave me a message by clicking on the orange tab at the bottom right of the page. We will sit down and discuss your health challenges and goals in a free health consultation over Zoom or at the Cafe of Life Chiropractic and Massage office.
Bart Thurman, FDN-P, INHC, AFDNP Functional Health Coaching Cafe of Life Chiropractic 1325 Dry Creek Drive #307 Longmont, CO 80503 Office: 720-849-0124 Website: www.breakfreewellness.net