Our emotions, positivity and negativity, have an impact on how our body’s immune system responds in our day-to-day lives. Finding ourselves in the midst of something as serious as a world pandemic is enough to send even the most positive of people into a tailspin.
As towns, cities and states start to make stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders, it can feel like we’re loosing control of our own lives. The news is bleak and constant. We’re at home 24/7, with everyone in the house. Homes have been transformed into schools, offices and residences. There’s a lot of meal-making, cleaning up, doing laundry, etc. It can all feel very heavy, raising our stress and anxiety levels.
More than ever we need to take stock in what we’re feeling and reframe our thoughts before it makes an impact on our already taxed immune system (for those of you already dealing with chronic inflammation).
How Do Our Emotions Effect Inflammation?
Research shows negative mood and emotions have been associated with increased levels of inflammatory biomarkers. Meaning, when you’re stressed, anxious, sad, angry, etc. your immune system responds by increasing the release of inflammatory cytokines into your body.
While experiencing negative emotions is part of life, it’s important to note if we become stuck in a place of negativity, the inflammation in our body begins to build up. These high levels of inflammation can then become chronic, increasing your risk for chronic illnesses. Chronic illness can include anything from autoimmune disorders, heart disease and cancer to diabetes, just to name a few.
The good news? Positivity has been shown to decrease the levels of inflammation circulating through the body. That’s powerful information, especially in a circumstance where you feel you don’t have control! Learning how you choose to view a situation gives YOU the POWER to positively impact your immune response.
What is Positivity?
Now that we know how good positivity is at tamping down inflammation, what exactly is it? And how do we learn to seek it?
According to Oxford’s Online Dictionary, positivity is the practice of being or tendency to be positive or optimistic in attitude. When you have a knack for being positive, you’ll look at the bright side of things; seek the silver lining in tough situations. Sound easier said than done? Maybe, but with a little practice you can cultivate a more positive outlook on life. One that carries you though your good and hard days.
Before we go further, know that having positivity in your life doesn’t mean you’re striving for perfection or living in a world where hardship doesn’t effect you. Two truths I know to the core of my being: hard times are inevitable and perfection doesn’t exist. It’s ok to experience the emotions you feel when you find yourself in a challenging situation or season. That’s natural and expected.
The difference between a person who displays positivity and one who is negative, is their attitude and outlook for the future. A positive person will see a hard situation, experience the emotions, then keep moving forward. They share their feelings, lean on their faith knowing that things will get better and look for glimmers of hope in the midst of a dark storm or season.
What are Some Ways to Improve Your Positivity in the Midst of a Challenging Time?
When going through challenging situations or hard times, it can be hard to focus on positivity if you haven’t made it part of your everyday life. That said, it’s never too late to start!
Now more than ever, as we’re in a season of uncertainty and unknowns with the coronavirus pandemic, we should use this time and these activities to help lift spirits and improve mindsets.
Acknowledge what you’re feeling, share it with someone you trust, take stock in the things you can control and let go of the ones you can’t.
Be informed with the latest information, but limit how much media you consume regarding the news.
Listen to your favorite music, and dance like no-one’s watching or sing like you’re in your shower!
MOVE! Make sure you get out and move everyday. Practice yoga, exercise, walk the dog, etc. It all counts!
Listen to an uplifting podcast that inspires, encourages and motivates you.
Start a daily gratitude journal: take time to find 3 things you’re grateful for each day. Focusing on your blessings makes it hard to sit too long on the things trying to weigh you down.
Encourage others with uplifting thoughts and sentiments: let those in your circle know how much you love and appreciate them; make a goal of complimenting 3 people throughout your week; etc. By lifting others up you brighten their day and raise your positivity meter!
Create a space that inspires you. In our current situation, we’re all spending a lot of time at home. Use this time to clear the clutter and reset your spaces. It doesn’t cost you a dime to repurpose your furniture into new spaces, toss old paperwork and create boxes for donations.
Share kindness with those in your neighborhood and within your circle.
Seek Positivity and Enjoy the Good Vibes (and Lowered Inflammation Levels) that Comes with It
There’s no time like the present to make change in your life. Choosing positivity is a great place to start, especially as we’re in the midst of one of the most challenging times of our lives as a society and country.
Looking for resources to start (or deepen) your journey toward more positivity? Download my Positivity Tips and Resources Guide in the form below.
Friend, you are not alone in this journey. Be sure to share what you’re experiencing with others. Take time to surround yourself with positive people (yes, even if it’s only virtually!), practice some of the positivity tips listed above and look for the glimmers of hope. There are beautiful moments to be found in this season, you just have to be willing to look for them.
Stress, anxiety and negativity all have an negative impact on your inflammation levels
A correlation has shown between positivity and lower inflammatory biomarkers
Review the list of ways you can increase your positivity and put a few into practice this next week. Note how you feel, how your mindset starts to shift
Join my Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle Support Facebook Group, click HERE to join. Here you’ll stay in the know and ahead of curve for your inflammation game