Barbara Scalera, Master Hypnotherapist and Success Coach explains how to master your thoughts in order to bring yourself out of the stress response and boost your immune system during these challenging times, and shares her immunity boosting hypnosis track with Madrid Metropolitan readers.
The part of the human brain that responds to stress is one of the most primitive parts of our brain. Consequently we are still designed to deal with danger and threat in short bursts – a wild animal is chasing me so I run to safety (flight); a man from a rival tribe is trying to take my territory so I fight him (fight); I hear someone or something prowling near my cave so I remain perfectly still to go undetected (freeze.) Our current pandemic is not a momentary threat, but an ongoing one but yet our brains still react to this as if we were being chased by the wild animal.
Every piece of bad news we read or hear about Covid 19, every anxiety-filled phone call, email or text, every person we see in a mask, triggers our stress response (fight, flight or freeze) Our system becomes flooded with the stress hormone cortisol, turning off our immune and healing systems, and cutting off the more modern part of our brain where our cognitive thought, reasoning and analysis reside – you don’t need any of that when your only job is to run as fast as you can away from that wild animal. Thus the irony of Covid 19 is that just when we need our immune and healing systems to be working at their optimal level and putting in extra hours, the ongoing stress and anxiety that we feel is turning off these systems as we constantly trigger our stress response. At the same time, we lose our ability to think rationally and analyze our own situations to understand the real nature and gravity of the threat.
So, what can we do to gain greater control of our thoughts and emotions and ensure that we get into calm, productive states enabling our immune and healing systems to do their jobs properly?
The good news is that our subconscious mind, which controls 95% of our thoughts, feelings and actions, is only influenced by two things. One is the pictures you make in your head and the other is the words you say, in your own head and out loud. Why is this good news? Because your subconscious is not actually being influenced by outside factors, only by the pictures you make in your head and the words you think and say in reaction to outside factors, and you can take control of those internal pictures and words. You can also take charge of your actions to do everything possible to minimize your risk and optimize your mental and physical wellbeing, which will increase your sense of control and take you out of your stress response.
To achieve this, I recommend the following 10 Steps:
1) Mantras: Create positive mantras in the form of a question, that you repeat to yourself over and over, day and night, such as ‘Why do I remain so healthy, energized, calm and positive?’ ‘How am I so consistently patient with my kids and productive in my work?’ ‘How am I continuing to attract and obtain fantastic clients?’ ‘Why do I have such a mild case and recover so quickly?’ By forming statements about how you want to be (or what you want to do or have) as present-tense questions your subconscious automatically looks to provide you with and implement the answers. Create just one or two mantras to concentrate on. Write them on your mirrors, your screen savers, etc. This focuses your subconscious on solving the productive problem of how to create this reality for you, and away from being in ‘fight, flight or freeze.’
2) Visualization: Along with your mantras, create extremely positive visualizations of how you want to be or what you currently want to do or have. An image of you looking vibrant and healthy doing something you love, an image of your bank statement or PayPal account reflecting your desired income or savings – use existing images that represent what you want (or create them using something like Canva) then duplicate them and put them up alongside your mantras – as screensavers, on your mirror, fridge, etc.
3) Guided Visualization: I know it’s not easy staying focused on positive words and images amid so much fear and uncertainty, so let the professionals do it for you! Below you will find my guided immunity-boosting hypnosis. All you have to do is close your eyes, relax and listen to my voice. You can even sleep through the entire 30-minute track and it still works to take you out of your stress response and into a healing, relaxed state in which you will boost your immune system. You can listen to this track, or other guided meditations, hypnosis tracks or visualizations throughout the day or evening to keep bringing your mind back to the relaxed, positive state in which your immune and healing systems work best. Just make sure you aren’t driving or doing anything else that requires your full attention, and that it’s ok with your doctor or mental health practitioner to do so.
Do you really need an hourly update on the Corona Virus numbers? To keep your immune and healing systems active and strong you need to stop triggering your own stress response, and that means actively limiting your exposure to negative news, fearmongering, and anxiety ridden discourse. so, decide to only watch/read the news once per day or week as needed. Block ‘friends’ on social media who constantly post doom and gloom, and limit actual conversation with those who insist on dwelling on the negative. Take control of your own narrative – is what’s coming out of your own mouth part of the problem or part of the solution? Watch shows or movies with elements of humor or feel-good factor, listen to uplifting music, and engage in activities that boost your mood or make you feel accomplished.
5) Daily Routine: Create a disciplined, healthy routine to your day, despite the temptation to do exactly the opposite. Get up relatively early, exercise, get cleaned up, dressed and presentable even if no one will see you. Prepare and eat healthy meals that include fresh fruit and vegetables where possible and supplement vitamins, minerals and nutrients you think you may be lacking or need more of to remain in optimum health. Stay hydrated with clean water. Maintain social distancing and frequent hand washing. And get good quality sleep on a regular schedule.
6) Working from Home: If you are working from home create a designated, pleasant and inviting workspace. Remove distractions if possible and stick closely to your regular work schedule and office routine (while taking advantage of extra personal time due to lack of commuting or reduced workloads.) Continue to reach out to employees, co-workers, supervisors, clients, anyone you would normally interact with during the working day, in order to feel connected and keep them feeling informed and cared for, even if you don’t have a work reason to do so and are just checking in to see how they are doing. This is a wonderful opportunity to create stronger bonds through shared adversity with those you work with, work for, supervise and serve.
7) Home Schooling: If you are home schooling your kids apply similar rules – with designated areas, hours and a routine schedule for kids. This will make them feel more secure and be more productive. If you are having to try and work yourself at the same time then clearly setting physical boundaries – this is my work space, this is yours – agreeing clear responsibilities with working partners – I help them with Math and Science during these times, you help them with language and writing during these times. I’m in charge of this play break, you’re in charge of that one. I’ll prepare and oversee lunch, you do dinner, etc. will avoid a great deal of frustration and stress for the entire household. Agree your essential needs to remain productive and effective and be ready to compromise on others.
8) Learn and Explore:
If you are not working or home-schooling or have time on your hands, how can you use the time to engage your brain and enrich your life? What are the things you always said you would do if you only had time to do them? Learn a language, an instrument, paint, – take advantage of all the free and discounted courses currently available online. No one’s watching or judging, so you can explore things that have always interested you but that you would not have attended a physical class for because you’re not sure you would like it or have the talent for it. Take the free online tours of the museums you have not been to, watch the theatre that’s being broadcast free – you get the picture.
9) Connect: There’s never been a better reason to reach out to people to connect via phone and social media. Reach out to people you haven’t spoken to in years but would love to reconnect with, or people with whom you would like to make amends – now’s the time! Push through the fear of possible rejection and reach out, if they say no you’ve lost nothing, if they say yes you have another positive outcome to focus on and feel good about. And naturally re-connect with whomever you are living with – designate time to do interactive activities together, play games, cook, garden, build things, don’t just watch TV together or retreat into your own online worlds.
10) Contribute: Doing good for others has been proven over and over to boost happiness and wellbeing, so how can you and your family contribute? Numerous charities are currently involved in raising funds for those in need during this time, be it first responders, isolated elderly, or those suffering financially due to loss of income. Or you can look closer to home – do you have elderly neighbors you can shop for, friends or relatives whose moods you can boost by making them funny videos, etc. Task yourself with contributing to others every day in whatever small or big way you can.
By making these changes you will feel far more positive and in control, will reduce your stress level, and give your immunity and healing systems the best possible internal conditions for keeping you healthy and resilient, or enabling you to rapidly recover from illness.
You can download Barbara’s free immunity boosting hypnosis track here: https://bit.ly/ImmunityHypno. And if you want to explore using this ‘down time’ to do online hypno-coaching to remove your subconscious blocks and rapidly achieve success in your business, health or personal life, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.