What a crazy time it is right now. Who would have thought that in a matter of weeks we would all go from life as usual to having nearly everything turned upside down? It’s all so surreal that I don’t think it’s even fully sunk in for me yet.
In my 37 years I’ve only had a few moments where a very significant, very unwanted, and very unexpected thing happened so suddenly that it changed my life within a matter of weeks. I can think of at least four. Each one struck my health, my work, my family, my finances, or a combination. Each one was very difficult and very painful.
But..do you want to know something ? I can look back and honestly say that I am thankful for them all.
It’s in times like these- when unexpected things happen and the future seems rather uncertain- that our inner strength, our faith and our resilience are truly tested. These situations are a “training ground” for those intangible qualities to develop and because of that, they can produce very lasting positive effects…if we respond to them the right way.
In addition to strengthening these internal qualities, situations that threaten our health also carry the blessing of giving us the motivation to confront habits that are holding us back from having better health. Let me spend the rest of our time together talking about that side of the coin.
Now I know you’ve heard experts saying that frequent hand washing and social distancing are important for disease prevention, but I’m saddened to hear virtual silence from these experts on how to strengthen our bodies intrinsic resistance to disease by optimizing our immune system. Because of that, I will share some tips with you today on how to do that.
First off, realize that a good defense begins with a strong army.
What do I mean by that? Your immune system is like an army. The various immune system cells guard your body 24/7 against any foreign invader that tries to come in. That could be a bacteria, a virus, mold, chemicals, allergens, or whatever else could harm you. When your soldiers are strong, they can fight these things off better. When they are not, they can’t.
Please know that it doesn’t matter how old or young you are, your immune system needs, wants, and thrives on the exact same things. If you do them at 80, 90, 30 or 20, it makes a positive difference. Also keep in mind that older individuals, especially those with underlying conditions, need to follow these suggestions more than anyone. They are the most vulnerable and because of that, they need as much help as they can get.
So Here Are My Top 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Army:
1. Drink a minimum of 64 ounces of pure (preferably filtered) water each day. Keep in mind that your body has tons of junk that it is filtering out of your various organs every minute of everyday. It requires water to flush those things completely out, and if they are not flushed out fully and quickly, it taxes your immune system and makes your army weaker.
2. Eat only organic, non genetically modified, non inflammatory foods. Most people don’t realize that every little chemical or additive in food is treated like a foreign invader. Your body actually has an immune response to these things that can suppress your normal disease fighting capabilities. Be very vigilant with what goes in your mouth, especially now that you may be tempted to eat because you are bored. Focus on organic raw fruits and vegetables, organic grains, and lean organic meats. Try and eliminate sugars, wheat, dairy, fatty meats and anything else that isn’t certified organic.
3. Continue to move…A LOT. Inside your body is a waste collection system called your lymphatic system. Your lymphatic system is responsible for getting cellular “trash” out of the cells and out of the body. If the lymphatic system slows down, trash piles up and the immune system function is suppressed. Want to know the thing that slows it down the most? Inactivity. The less you move, the more trash builds up. So..keep moving, take vigorous walks as often as you can, and continue to do as much exercise as possible while we are in this time of transition. Also, be sure to not sit for more than 50 minutes without taking at least a five minute break to stand up and move around. It makes a big difference.
4. Get good sleep. During sleep there are tremendous restorative processes that go on inside your body and without enough of it, your immune system can’t function at it’s highest level. Prioritize sleep and try to get 7-9 hours total per night.
5. Keep your mind focused on hopeful, positive thoughts. Did you know that negative or worrisome thoughts cause stress that lowers your immunity? On the contrary, positive, hopeful thoughts can release healthful neurotransmitters and hormones that enhance your immunity. Because of this we must be intentional about focusing on the right thoughts, even though it can be hard sometimes.
You don’t have to follow my lead, but do you want to know what I do? I focus on the promises of the Bible.
One of those promises is that because I’ve placed my faith in Christ and asked Him to forgive my sin (and not because I’ve somehow earned it) I am going to heaven when I die. This eliminates the fear of death.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so whoever trusts and follows Him will not perish but will inherit eternal life” John 3:16
Another promise I focus on is that Jesus not only paid for my sins to be forgiven with His death on the cross, but that He also paid for my healing. This eliminates the fear of disease.
“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5
And maybe my favorite promise of all- God said that ultimately everything I go through will turn out to be a good thing for me because I’ve chosen to follow Him.
“All things work together for good for those that love God and follow after His calling “ Romans 8:28
I’ve seen that promise fulfilled time and time again. In fact, I wouldn’t even be writing this newsletter or doing the kind of work that I do if I hadn’t had the dramatic life change that occurred after I was stricken with cancer as a teen (that was one of the four things I mentioned).
So in closing, be sure to take the time to be intentional about dialing in the strength of your army in as many ways as you can. You will be grateful for that strength if and when you need it.
If you have any questions or if you need anything else, I’m here for you.
I’m praying that you and your family stay safe and healthy and please join me in praying for all those affected by this virus.
God bless you!
P.S. This past summer, I was suddenly struck with pneumonia. My doctor said it was the worst case he’d seen in 6 years. This disease carries a 30% mortality rate and it had a very disruptive (and initially very unpleasant) effect on my life.
However, several amazing things came out of it that I am truly thankful for and as I look back I can see how God turned it all around for my good. It’s more than I’ll get into here, but if you’d like to read about that experience click here to read about it-http://www.nonfictionfitness.com/pneumonia/