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Swine flu and the Mind-Body Connection
Posted: 5/15/2009 | Wellness Comments
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Most of us feel cautious about the possible spread of viruses and other bugs like the Swine Flu or what is now called the H1N1 virus. One of the ways we can start to protect ourselves from illnesses like Swine Flu and other diseases, is to work with our mind-body connection. Of course, how we take care of our physical bodies as well as our stress and anxiety levels have a lot to do with the health of our immune system and our health in general. Healthy immune systems resist disease.

 

Over the years there have been an enormous amount of studies on the mind-body connection including relaxation strategies, bio feedback, meditation techniques, energy therapies and others. These can help us relax and allow our own immune systems to move away from illness and strengthen towards health. In our society, much of what we hear is viewed from the frame work of a disease model that looks at everything as though we are either well or sick. We sometimes forget that there are degrees of wellness. We can actually become healthier even when we are not sick. 

 

So, in what ways do you begin to look at this mind-body connection to protect yourself from illnesses? You begin by examining how you take care of yourself physically. Ask yourself some simple questions:

 

How do you treat your body? 

Do you eat well?

Do you get enough sleep? 

Do you work out or have some form of regular activity?

 

These questions are some of the more concrete ways to start cultivating our body-mind connection. Besides physically, how are you caring for yourself emotionally, mentally and spiritually? These different levels of care all have their importance in our over all health and immune function.

 

For example, what keeps you from achieving an optimum level of wellness?  Often the answer that arises in our exploration of our internal thoughts and feelings is stress and anxiety.

 

What is stress? Stress is a physiological response of the body to situations or stimulus which are perceived as “dangerous” to the individual. Stress affects us all in different ways. Stress also changes as we grow and change. As we age we are also affected differently by stressors. High stress occurring regularly can cause physical harm and lower our immune response to viruses, bacteria and other diseases.

 

Stress is often noticed as body tension and can be caused by our non-productive internal thoughts and feelings. We perceive that we are in danger in the moment because of our history and belief systems not because we are in actual danger at the time. Knowing the contents of those non-productive thoughts and feelings begins to loosen the strong hold of this connection to the past. Not knowing the contents only gives these hidden internal operating systems power and keeps our lives stressful

 

How about anxiety? Anxiety is also the body’s response to a perceived threat. It is a variety of biochemical changes related to our personal history, memory and social situation. Anxiety is a feeling often linked with fear. Worries are the thoughts that can be associated with these fears. We can find it difficult at times to name the source of these fears. However, naming, understanding and processing our fears, worries and anxieties allow these amorphous uncertainties to come into the light so to speak. This takes these undefined forces of nature and reduces their power by knowing what is “behind the curtain” running the show. We then can integrate and start to actually relax.

 

So what does this all mean?

 

Even though we aren’t sure about the future of Swine Flu, H1N1 virus, we know that there are ways we can lower our stress and our anxiety levels or deal with difficult emotions that arise for you.  This will lead to a healthier immune system, healthier body and a lower chance of disease and a happier life.  

 

 




Comments:

AnitaCasalina       Posted: 5/21/2009 10:56:21 PM

Yes! This is all so true. As a spiritual healer, I work everyday with people to help them learn not just the power of prayer and positive thoughts, but how to hold their body as the sacred housing for their soul. We care for the whole being and are healthy and happy.

Thanks Dr. Jennifer, for getting this message out to your audience!

Love and Light,
Anita Casalina


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