"A woman in her 40s was seated on a bench at the park entrance. She was weeping. I asked her if I could help. She replied that although she was healthy, she was scared."
My landline has been ringing continuously while my cell phone simultaneously harps, illuminates, dings, or alerts in the background. People are reaching out for support as we collectively experience extreme fear over the threats of the coronavirus pandemic.
Yesterday, I stopped the madness by walking to Central Park to lean on a tree, ground, and observe the birds and buds that are unfazed by the headline news and anxiously awaiting an early spring.
A woman in her 40s was seated on a bench at the park entrance. She was weeping. I asked her if I could help. She replied that although she was healthy, she was scared. I did my best to console her. Afterwards, I went on to find a tree that felt right and claimed my spot on the ground next to it.
There weren’t many people in Central Park. Most people have either left the city or are locked up in their apartments in fear of potential infection. I get it.
What I shared with the woman on the bench is that fear causes anxiety and stress. When we vibrate in these states, our immune systems become suppressed at the worst possible time.
It’s an unsettling period for all of us. There isn’t much that we can control, and we feel like — dare I say? — victims. I’d like to help my tribe adopt a new narrative — one of self-empowerment.
“But how can you dispel fear?” the woman on the bench had asked me. I shared a lot with her.
Fear is one of the most primal human emotions. You can dispel it by owning your body and quieting your mind. Honor your body’s needs. Calm down to activate your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest mode) that helps your immune system to prevent disease and illness.
Minding our immune system isn’t something that we have been conditioned to do. We’ve been taught to outsource the critical task of maintaining our health to the medical community. The reality is that the medical community is there to support our health, but we need to take responsibility for preserving it. No matter what health situation you have, you can take steps to improve it.
Owning this is so important, especially now.
Your spiritual immune system needs as much feeding as your physical immune system does.
Do things that bring you joy — listen to music, read, dance, watch fun movies, or talk with friends.
While I was grounding, I was surprised by how close a tiny bird, likely weighing only a few ounces, came to me. It pranced around by my side and looked me in the eye. I stared back, and it didn’t fly away as normally happens. I felt a sense of connection with this being. If this tiny creature wasn’t fearful of living in this great big world with all of the uncertainties it faced, neither should we be.
Feeling a shift within myself, I sensed that it was time to go home, turn off my cell phone, and take a bubble bath.
You are far more powerful than you realize.
Read more from Jasmine Bilali.