Faith, Stress, and Love

Joanna Lavenderfield 1 Kopi

Faith, Stress, and Love

I am sitting the middle of these times of unrest and have to formulate an article about health for the summer 2020, which is quite the challenge.

Much of society has opened up as I am writing this, and tourists can again visit Spain. We can go to the beaches, bars, restaurants, stores, malls, fitness centers etc.
During these beautiful times, we should be flooded with love, joy, and gratefulness, but instead stress and frustration seems to be lurking. What about the future, health, the economy, and so on.
Discussions revolve around all of these subjects. What about the masks, are they still relevant? Do they protect us? Or are they simply inhibiting our immune system, as some doctors think. At a very basic level I certainly feel that they decrease the interaction I have with other people. I often cannot recognize who I am talking to, nor can I see their facial expressions. I also have trouble hearing what people are saying through the masks, perhaps because of my aging hearing, so I am often deprived of much of the fun and life affirming communication.
When I am on my morning walk with the dogs, are most of the people that pass by looking straight ahead with empty stares, as if there is some incredibly important goal out there in the distance. Only old acquaintances from before the lockdown greets and waves. I have walked the same stretch for about 14 years, and it has always been the norm to greet each other with a small smile or an “hola”, when we met early in the morning. I still enjoy my morning walk, but the feeling has become slightly mixed.
We have to keep our distances on the beach, which 3000 policemen are assigned to enforce. It is good for all of us, as well as the sea and the fish…
The economic frustrations are mixed with insecurities about health and future. Will there be another wave of the virus? And what might be the consequences of that? Will there be a vaccine, is it safe – will it be mandatory? The discussions are many.
We are at the same time experiencing many riots and demonstrations in cities all over the world. Officially these are caused by a black man’s unnecessary and brutal death at the hands of a white policeman, but I also believe the riots are caused by a mixture of feelings of powerlessness caused by rising unemployment, the encroachment of our freedom of speech, and a general fear of what the future might bring.
It is important in the middle of all this chaos, to maintain our joy of life, pour all our love out to animals and humans, enjoy this wonderful summer and all the beauty that surrounds us, be grateful, and ensure that we keep ourselves healthy, in harmony and balance. Everyone of us contains much more power and energy, than we are aware of. Find it, polish it, and then go out into the world. Smile and have plenty of heart felt laughs. It is great for the immune system and is very infectious.

The diet
You are what you eat, a phrase which contains a lot of truth. I recently read a lovely quote by Edward Stanley: “those who think they do not have time to eat healthy, will sooner or later have to find the time to be sick.”
The cliché helps me when I sometimes feel stressed about spending so much time preparing food and prioritizing high quality foods rather than going for quantity.
Make sure you get eggs from joyful chicken, that have led good lives. Ensure that the healthy and important fats from ecological butter, olive oil, flaxseed oil, and coconut oil are a part of the diet.
If you eat meat, then ensure that it is ecological. It might be a bit more expensive, but then you should rather eat less of it. Cut out chemicals and preservatives.
As my zodiac sign is Taurus, I have an enormous appreciation for fine foods. Right before I eat I will give my thanks for the food and bless it, and give myself a few seconds to just look at it.
If you make the abovementioned into a habit and look gratefully at your food, then you digestive system in the mouth will start forming saliva with plenty of enzymes, to ensure that you have a better digestion. When you chew your food slowly and well, then you will find a feeling of wellbeing in your intestinal system, and feel that you have more energy and that stress and fear will not overpower you as easily, you will sleep better, your brain will work better, and even your skin will look better. You will find it much easier to be happy and spread joy to others. And as an extra bonus, your food will often taste better.
You can start your morning with a diet that prevents stress. A proper bowl of oatmeal with almonds and sesame seeds as toppings can have a calming effect, containing a lot of good things, such as magnesium. If you are stressed, then magnesium will often disappear from your body quickly. The same thing happens in the summer months if you sweat a lot in the heat.
Make sure you get plenty of fiber from whole wheat, fruits, and vegetables. They help balance your intestinal flora, which is great both for your immune system and for preventing stress. Make sure that you get sufficient omega 3 from fatty fish. It helps, among other things, your braincells. Walnuts are also rich in omega 3.
It is great with ecological eggs and chicken. You should also let onions, leeks, and artichokes make regular appearances in your meal plan. These foods are prebiotic, meaning that they stimulate the growth of helpful bacteria in the intestinal system. Prebiotic foods have also been shown to have a calming effect on the body.
If you feel stressed, then avoid coffee and other caffeinated drinks and foods. Stay away from sugary foods, such and cakes and candy. Be careful with alcohol and fast food, and make sure that you drink plenty of quality water.

Dietary supplements
Eating healthy is the most important thing. However, by using dietary supplements cleverly every day, it can contribute to the avoidance of stress. This is important because long term stress can cause disease and contribute to a heightened blood pressure, insomnia, depression, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune diseases.

  • Make sure, as the most important thing, that you take a multivitamin/mineral product of high quality.
  • Vitamin-C should be consumed in higher doses when you are stressed. A lack of vitamin-C can cause fatigue, mental instability, difficulty sleeping, hair loss, bruises, cramps, and poor healing of wounds.
  • Magnesium is thought to be a weapon against stress. Magnesium deficiency is still more widespread, than we think. It also has a calming effect together with calcium.
  • Vitamin-D levels are too low for many people. It can be of the utmost importance to get a supplement of vitamin-D. Studies have shown that supplements of vitamin-D can contribute to reducing stress.
  • Vitamin-B is unavoidable when the topic is stress. Many nutritionists believe that the entire western world lack vitamin-B. The different vitamin-Bs are mutually dependent on each other. It is therefore important to take the entire spectrum of vitamin-Bs at the same time, else you increase the risk that you might lack some of the other vitamin-Bs. If you are lacking vitamin-B, then you will have a lower stress threshold with unrest, nervousness, difficulties sleeping, and a reduced immune system.
  • Omega 3 fats have in general a slightly calming effect. Omega 3 is extracted from fat fish and put into capsule form, but flaxseed oil and algae oil also contain omega 3.
  • Curcumin from turmeric aids against many different afflictions, including stress related ones.
  • Bacopa can be a great supplement to take in stressful times. It is most known for increasing brain function and decreasing stress and nervousness on all levels. It furthermore contains good antioxidants. It is also seen as being able to reduce inflammations in the body and help keep a normal blood pressure.
  • If you feel stressed and nervous, then you have to be careful with ginseng and guarana, which can spread the feeling in an uncomfortable way.

Love is the most important thing in life 
I believe love is the most important element in life. Love is just as important as food and water. We cannot survive without it.
Scientific studies have shown that our immune system is improved by loving experiences. Something as simple as witnessing a compassionate act can strengthen our immune system. David McClelland from Harvard University discovered that university students increased their production of antibodies in the saliva, when they watched a movie where Mother Teresa comforted a child, whilst the levels dropped when they saw scenes from war movies.
The abovementioned can hopefully serve as inspiration for what we choose to watch in the media. We all want to feel joy and have a strong immune system.
We have a pandemic and global protests, which leaves us in a stressful nervous condition. We must, as a counterbalance, find the harmony in ourselves and share it with each other. It does not have to be grand gestures, but just a small smile when we pass each other on our walk, in the gym, or other places. A smile can work miracles and bring warmth all the way into our souls, as the title says, of the now diseased Victor Borg’s book “The smile is the shortest distance between two people”.
I do not think we will ever return to the “good old days”. My hope is that we will find it in ourselves, in this stressed world, to treat each other, our surroundings, and the planet with more care and respect.
It is summer, the sun is shining, and the sky is even blue without trails from too many airplanes. Bring the humor and the joy of life to the surface. Let your inner sun charm your surroundings. Go outside, have fun, smile, and laugh… I hope we still remember what that is like.

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