Let’s Stay Strong & Find Joy in the Moments!

This includes supporting our body’s Immune System!

Welcome back to LIT ― Live(s) Inspiring Today! If you haven’t been here before, THANKS for sharing some moments now!

Our first Portland snow fell this morning, in mid-March; a friend was in town for a conference this past week and sent home after hundreds had arrived to Portland from as far away as Chile; people all over the world feel worried in new ways. YET, I feel a lovely surprise of “free time” to do what I often don’t do―such as blogging.

Given the challenges of now, let’s talk about the wondrous human body―and immunity. We want to stay healthy and strong. I might even bring poetry into this conversation!

Mostly, I what to remind you and me what we can do any moment of our lives to grow and remain resilient. Not that we control much, yet even when stuck at home, even as plans go berserk and we miss our usual workouts and events are canceled, even when our livelihood feels at stake―on our own time, in our own homes, phone calls and webinars–we can make small decisions that will help not only ourselves but neighbors we’ve never met.

Self-care is good for everyone!

Growing scientific evidence shows that stress reduces the ability of our bodies to fight off ALL diseases and illnesses.

Fantastic if none of these suggestions are new to you! Here goes:

1. Food First: We are what we eat, and when it comes to staying healthy, a colorful plate is an image to behold. While there is no one best diet for all of us, we each need a balance of all three macro-nutrients (fats, protein & carbohydrates).

We need good fat to utilize the protein we consume, and we need protein in our diet in order to digest fat. Carbs are everywhere, and getting enough of those is not a worry for most of us. Don’t forget the greens–lots of them!

Keep in mind that constant snacking is a drain on the body: If always busy breaking down and absorbing food, the body can’t complete its other essential functions―such as detoxification―imperative to a strong immune system and our vital organs working well. 

2. Lower Stress: Worries of all stripes tax the body and cloud the mind. Stress fuddles mood. Whether it’s the coronavirus, the stock market, our children’s education, our own vulnerability―we best take a deep breath and close our eyes. Gently, reset.

According to a recent Carnegie Mellon study, people with higher levels of stress in their lives develop cold symptoms at a higher rate than others. A study at Ohio State University found that marital conflict is the worst: Couples who argue often―especially with high levels of hostility―recover from a wound more slowly

3. Practice Relaxation Techniques: It’s a part of life. Stress can’t always be avoided, but we can learn to meditate, practice breathing exercises to bring our body into a parasympathetic state, pray, and talk with trusted friends, family, or a therapist.

We can walk the dog, or take a solo trek around the neighborhood observing the latest bloom. Writing helps many of us to feel calm―and reading.  Playing a game with a child is another way to ease our body and mind.

4. Find Ways to Feel Joy! This category falls under the previous, but I want to emphasize the power in JOY―and smiling as medicine for our immune system. Oxytocin–also known as “the cuddle hormone” runs wild when we feel happy. This wonder hormone, produced in the pituitary gland, aids in healing and is triggered by the simple action of grin.

What makes me smile? When do I drop all plan-making and worry of what went wrong  or the dread of tomorrow’s unknown?

Lately, I watch the hummingbird in its nest on our front porch. I could strum that guitar collecting dust in the corner. My neighbor goes for a run. My husband plants peas in the garden. Possibilities abound. It doesn’t need to be grand. Gratefulness.org is a favorite resource–especially Word for the Day.

5. Improve sleep habits: A sleep-deprived immune system doesn’t work well. A lack of sleep–especially less than seven hours a day–leads to more stress on body, mind and spirit.

Going to bed and awakening in the morning on a schedule helps. Many people benefit from gentle stretching and quiet breathing exercises before shutting off the lights. And it’s best to arrange a sleeping area for sleeping only: Quiet, dark, restful and comfortably cool.

If we do awaken in the night, it’s best to avoid looking at a clock. After 20 minutes of lying sleepless (I know, I wasn’t supposed to look at the time!), get up and do something else―though not for too long.

Sleep experts advise that we also avoid screen-time at least 30 minutes before bed―or anything that will agitate the mind. I turn my Android to “Wind Down” at 9pm!

6. Avoid excessive alcohol, sugar, and processed grain consumption: Why lump these all together? In essence, alcohol and processed grains are sugar. Sugar is like poison for the body and prevents every system from working as designed―from the cellular to the circulatory to the nervous system and cardio.

Balance meal of simple food!

Diabetes is epidemic in much of the world, and, for the most part, this is why: Too much sugar. It causes cells to grow resistant to insulin. From there, the slope is slippery. So, a bit of sweetness―especially if it’s honey, maple syrup, dates or fruit―is fine for most of us. But most of us are consuming way too much refined food and not enough nutrient-dense whole foods that build a strong body―and mind. The result: We get sick more often. We feel more aches and pains. We are grumpy! We don’t sleep well!

Unfortunately, fake-sugar isn’t much better, and some scientist claim it worse because the non-sugar sweeteners trick the body. For more info, check out “Sweetners, Time to Rethink Your Choices” 

These are just a few ways we can care for ourselves.

AND, super if nothing shared in these paragraphs is new to you.  Hopefully,  you don’t feel you’ve wasted time―and please, share your own ideas in COMMENTS below.

Even better, if you and me can reach out to those we love and lend an ear, invite them out for a walk, or cook up a yummy and joy-supporting meal, let’s do it! But, don’t sweat it. We’ll do what we can do.

Don’t worry about what can’t be changed, and if a change can be made, and you can do something you believe worthwhile―go for it.

Caring for ourselves is the best first order in caring well for others. One won’t happen without the other.

Happy Spring!

WILD NIGHTS
by Emily Dickinson

Wild Nights―Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile―the Winds―
To a Heart in port―
Done with the Compass―
Done with the Chart!

Rowing in Eden―
Ah, the Sea!
Might I but moor―Tonight―
In Thee!

Kira awaiting a walk!

Links You Might Like:

Hugs Help Protect Against Stress and Infection, Say Carnegie Mellon Researchers

Is Marriage Good for Your Health?

Tips for sleeping well

Stories from spiritual leaders, physicians and those with chronic illnesses reveal the powerful connection between the human psyche and physical health. (1 hour 46 min 2017 Documentary film with Kelly Noonan Gores  featuring Deepak Choprah, Bruce Lipton, Marianne Williamson and others).

POETRY: If you find reading poetry relaxing, try one or all of these offering: American Life in Poetry, Poem-a-Day, or Rattle–which is also interactive. You can submit.

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