By Dietitian Jill Place
Have you read the gloom-and-doom about Coronavirus lately? What we’re doing ISN’T WORKING! I gave you some great boosting-immunity tips in the article, Isn’t it Time We Talk About Immunity? But then I thought … how to you make these positive changes happen in a pandemic … and forever?
You can read articles about positive change ad nauseum on the internet. Most have tips like my own.
But what personal QUALITIES … or character traits … do people need to have to make positive changes easier? Because changing without these all important qualities is like being a 98-pound weakling (or one of the Immune sisters, Wobbley Weak, pictured here) trying to move a two-ton boulder.
Our Right-Now Reality …
No … the news isn’t “fake” … it’s just conflicting, subject to opinion, and sensationalized. And the exact same clinical information can be viewed radically differently depending upon your wellness belief system.
It just takes a belief in a specific kind of thinking. We seem to be to be losing the Coronavirus battle. So perhaps another kind of thinking?
A recent article in The New York Times offered one. It explained … “In the past century, the largest gains in human health and life expectancy have come from public-health interventions, not medical ones”.
In other words … and it’s been proven again and again … that a robust national public-health system could save billions by reducing the incidence of preventive illnesses and keeping us healthier overall.
But that’s not only not happening … it’s not being funded. We just keep layering on more medical interventions, which history shows to be least effective against pandemics. As of Monday, I’m now wearing a face shield at the hospital.
Not to mention that people just aren’t following Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. Americans are also, by nature, rebellious.
So Where Does that Leave US …
My advice to rebellious Americans … take your power back. Use the frigging masks and stop partying so much. Because lifestyle change DOES take time.
But taking your power back personally is the only way we’re going to get out of this. In a wonderful article in erudite The New Yorker, historian professor Gianna Pomata offered hope. She talked about what happens after pandemics.
“What I expect now is something as dramatic is going to happen, not so much in medicine but in economy and culture. Because of danger, there’s this wonderful human response, which is to think in a new way,” she said.
She called it “… fresh air coming in, the fresh air of common sense.” But America she warned “seems to be in the grip of a horrible attack of unreason.”
From what I see happening this has to be a grassroots movement. From people who desperately want to return to reason. Because that’s the only way we can go if we don’t want this country to implode.
So cultivating the qualities below … or recognizing them in ourselves …may be our avenue to sanity. It sure seems like it … and here they are …
In our right-now existence patience is often hard to even wrap our minds around. But the reality is that bodies don’t change that fast. If you’ve ever lost weight, you know what I mean.
So if you’re working on supporting your immunity to keep you well now and in the future, it may take a while. Depending upon the state of your health when you began.
There must be some reason why we love the saying, “slow and steady wins the race”. I myself broke my ankle just by trying to do one more thing one day. It was a really unfortunate way to learn patience.
Some ways to cultivate patience:
- When you feel rushed or overwhelmed, take a moment … slow down … breathe … smile … take some time out to “smell the roses”, talk something trivial with someone, eat something you love (you get the drill …)
- Break down long-term tasks to doable baby steps
- Think of things you’ve gotten or accomplished by waiting
No … I’m not a football fan. But the picture above so reminded me of when I was teaching acting. One of my actors entered a scene by literally catapulting herself across the stage.
We’re all fearful to some degree … anyone who says they’re not is either lying or not in touch with themselves. Courage isn’t the absence of fear but a way to do want you want or others need you to do in its presence.
As an actor, I did what I considered comfort-snapping things. I never leapt across the stage like my student. But danced on a chair (and I don’t dance!) in lingerie. And did improv comedy when famous actors I knew were too afraid to try.
FYI … the little improv class I was in turned into the now-famous Groundlings troupe (do you know who the groundlings are? If you do … email me!). And produced several in the first Saturday Night Live cast.
In other words, I (and my castmates) did what I did tracing the same footsteps as fear. But I did it anyway. Learning how to accept deep emotion and not run away from pain (we actually had to isolate and grow the sensation as an exercise) helped. And when you do, joy and pleasure can be at your beck and call.
Yes, I guess what I did was courageous. But anyone can do it. All you have to do is take a chance. Here are other ideas …
Some ways to look fear in the face and laugh at it:
- Take action! Sitting on your bum is the best way to let fear win. During these crazy times, my projects and working with people have kept me afloat. Have you checked out my Immune BOOST program yet?
- Don’t follow the rules. I had to learn the hard way that doing it any other’s way doesn’t work for me. Yes … learning from doers and experts can give you a skill set. And that skill set can give you the confidence to take action. But in order to really cultivate courage you have to …
- Challenge your thoughts. It’s our nature to stay the same. Our inner chatter can tell us we can’t do something a little bit out of the box all the time. So notice thoughts like, “I can’t do that!” and reframe them in your mind to something like, “I can do it if I do this and this and this”.
- Sit with your emotions. I recently previewed yet another meditation app. I guess it thought itself to be revolutionary because it asked participants what they felt.
The reality is that most people don’t know HOW they feel. So they have to become acquainted their feelings like a toddler learning to walk … they’re going to fall more than once. Read Feelin’ Groovy … and Anxious … and Annoyed for more ideas on how to access emotion.
Allowing yourself to experience whatever you’re feeling at any give time is a way to conquer fear. And leave the window open for joy.
Being in the Moment
I am forever thankful to my acting career for teaching me to be present. I trained long and hard to do so. You can’t act without being totally there. And I swear that sometimes I was so in the moment that I kind of hovered overhead and the character took over.
But you can learn to be in the the moment … by practicing mindfulness. I’ve been teaching mindfulness to everyone lately … including the nurses at my hospital. We all need it now.
It’s like meditation without all the woo-woo. Because you can practice it anywhere … standing up … in the car … during a really stressful situation. And you don’t have to sit in lotus like Serenity Strong here.
All you need to do is breathe. And spend 5 minutes a day (more is better) practicing.
Want to try? Here are my Micro-Mindfuls™. Just click on this link to experience all of them.
Gratitude is the most powerful tool I know to shift your consciousness out of “poor me” learned-helplessness mode. Into being joyful and taking action.
Gratitude has been scientifically proven to promote good relationships, better physical and psychological health, anger reduction, better sleep and self-esteem, and mental resilience.
Want to know how to practice gratitude? Easy, peasy …
Ways to “do” gratitude:
- My absolutely fave gratitude practice is one I learned from the book, The Secret. I get out of bed every day and when my first foot hits the floor I say “Thank” in my mind. With the other foot I think “You”. It prompts me to think about all the things I’m grateful for in life while making my morning coffee.
- Open your journal or take a piece of paper and list 100 things that you’re grateful for. Refer to them often or put some of them on sticky notes and post all over the house.
- Close all your mindfulness practices with the phrase, “I am grateful for (name something) NOW!
Albert Einstein said …
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.
I couldn’t have said it better. Curiosity is the path to all of the above because, without it, we’d never want to do anything. Curiosity is a desire to learn all we can about something. Including ourselves.
Going our curious way:
- Ask questions. Ask the crucial Why? … How? … Who? … and What? about anything and everything. And remember … no question is “dumb”.
- Read. Hey … I’m old school … books are very important to me. But now I can get them on Kindle and Audible. And there’s tons of great content out there too. Reading stimulates questions. Oh, and read things that wouldn’t interest you normally.
- “Write” it down. I once dated a high-powered comedy writer (who knew … he was cute and wore ripped jeans) who always implored me to write his thoughts down while we were driving. Now we have voice recorders everywhere. And love my Samsung Note because I can jot down thoughts and ideas right on the screen.
- Be curious about yourself and others. Take time every day to check in with yourself. And being inquisitive about and listening intently to others can endear you to them.
Curiosity sparks our creativity. Gratitude brightens our days. Courage brings joy. Patience opens us to other possibilities. And being in the moment allows us the sights, sounds, and other senses that make life worth living.
Here’s another way …