Resiliency: How to improve your mood and boost your immune response
It’s hard to escape… Stress is all around us.
Here’s how you can beat it
Since the onset of COVID-19, we’ve all been inundated with strategies to keep us safe. By now, most of us have the hand-washing, mask-wearing, and social distancing habits down. But what about protecting our mental health and improving our resilience during uncertain times? Is it possible to boost resiliency?
The consequences of this pandemic have drastically changed how many of us live. We now work, eat, date, socialize, and parent differently. Meanwhile, public health authorities can’t pin down an end date for this surreal period of turmoil. We seem to have entered a new phase of mental fatigue, where things feel a bit bad, all the time.
This kind of unrelenting stress and uncertainty makes us susceptible to increasing levels of anxiety and depression, but more than that, it also weakens the immune system. During times of stress, the brain sends defense signals to the endocrine system, which then releases an array of hormones that not only gets us ready for emergency situations (the good part of the flight or fight response) but when the stress is frequently repeated or prolonged, can also lead to depression, apathy and anxiety while severely depressing our immunity at the same time (the bad part of the flight or fight response). Some experts claim that chronic stress is responsible for as much as 90% of all illnesses and mood disorders.
The way it does this is by triggering chemical reactions and flooding the body with chemical messengers and hormones such as glutamate and cortisol. Increasing levels of glutamate have been shown to break down important connections in the brain that regulate mood and lead to increasing symptoms of depression and anxiety, while high levels of cortisol decrease white blood cells and NK cells (special cells that kill cancer), and impairs our body’s natural ability to make antibodies to fend off infection.
Because the effects of stress are cumulative, the longer we are exposed to stress and uncertainty, the greater potential impact it can have on our mental and physical health, eventually leading to more serious health issues.
“The best antidote to chronic stress is increasing our resiliency.”
The Benefits of Improved Resiliency
The ability to effectively deal with stress and its adverse effects is the adaptive response known as resiliency. Resilience is the capacity to recover, respond and bounce back from challenging times. Even if you don’t know the “back” to which you would “bounce” because the world may never return to the way it was, you still need the capabilities to adapt in uncertain or negative conditions.
Resilience is the ability to understand the reality of a situation and make sense of it, putting it into context and keeping it in the perspective of the long term. It is also the ability to improvise and respond in fresh ways. Scientists have become increasingly aware of the protective beneficial effects of increasing resiliency to improve mood and energy levels, lower anxiety and strengthen immune function.
New findings in neuroscience have found some remarkable ways to improve resilience. Many of them you can do yourself and may seem simple but can offer profound benefits, while others like the newly discovered benefits of glutamate-blocker therapy can help you adapt, reconnect and respond within just minutes to hours and lead to prolonged beneficial effects.
“5 ways to increasing your resiliency.”
How to Increase Resiliency on Your Own
Like building a muscle, increasing your resilience requires time and dedication. If you don’t put in the work, it might atrophy. People are conditioned to think of resilience as a personality trait (either you have it or you don’t), but this isn’t the case. With intention and practice, you can become more resilient, no matter your age.
There isn’t one specific strategy to use to build resilience. It’s a process of establishing connections, coping with stress, adjusting your thought process, and fostering physical wellness.
While different stressors affect different people, there are five steps that everyone can take to improve resilience. These include paying attention to your emotions, making time for dedicated exercise, checking the news in an intentional way, engaging in socializing, and coming up with an action plan in case you do spin out.
REALIZE IT’S OK TO FEEL BAD… FOR A LITTLE WHILE— The first step to increase resilience is to recognize that the negative emotions you feel bubbling up (or perhaps, exploding) during this chaotic period are inevitable. It is important to acknowledge that “it’s okay for me to feel bad”. We all need to allow space for all the hard feelings. Be intentional about when you’re going to let yourself be angry or grieve and wonder when this is going to be over.
Now that you’ve acknowledged the feelings, it’s time to work through them. Here the possibilities are endless, and you have to reflect on what would work best for you. Some of the things our patients have used include meditating, journaling, running, talking to a friend, stretching, and gardening.
Even small acts of mindfulness can help you tune into the present moment, notice bodily sensations of tension or calmness, and get more comfortable with uncertainty. Taking five to ten minutes to settle your mind and ground yourself can give you a small sense of control even in an uncontrollable situation.
BUILD DAILY AND WEEKLY ROUTINES — Routines can help you process passing time, and create situations to look forward to, like calling friends or exercising when you’re done with work.
What makes creating routines a step towards resilience is that you pay attention to how different activities, or rest periods, make you feel. If you see positive outcomes, keep the action in your arsenal for when you start feeling overwhelmed or upset.
BREAK THE NEWS CYCLE — The current situation that we find ourselves in is a uniquely challenging worldwide event that influences every part of our lives. It makes sense that it’s difficult to turn the news off, but constant exposure to Covid-19 news takes a toll on our mind and body.
So, what can you do when a global crisis means there’s breaking news every minute? Be intentional with the information you seek and ask yourself: “What do I need to do today to be safe? Do I really want to know right now, or can I take a break?”
Setting aside 15-minute blocks in the morning or after the workday to catch up on the news can help. It’s all about finding the balance between being aware versus being overwhelmed.
BE OPEN AND MAKE A PLAN FOR THE FUTURE — Before Covid-19, there was a strong cultural pressure in the United States to hide things that are not going well and only project the good. That habit has begun to break down and change.
People are more willing to talk about the issues in their life and may be more willing to ask for help or offer help. We also have the opportunity to prepare ourselves for difficulties ahead. Typically, people can’t heal or process trauma until the trauma is over, but this will be an ongoing process for some time to come. Writing down an action plan can help people from spiraling out and provide clear steps toward feeling better as Covid-19 progresses.
CONSIDER PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE —
If you have tried your best to deal with the current unknowns and stress surrounding us but feel that you may need additional help, then seeking out professional advice and alternative solutions may be helpful.
Traditional psychotherapy, prescription medications, and conventional treatments do help many people stabilize their lives, but sometimes even these routes are not enough to fully deal with the pain, trauma, and chronic stress that lay at the core of our mounting financial worries, social isolation, and health-related fears.
Innovative New Ways to Restore Resiliency and Promote Well being
There is good news. Recent discoveries in medicine have provided insights into innovative new treatments that can rapidly and dramatically restore resiliency and improve symptoms of depression, anxiety and PTSD – sometimes in just a matter of hours.
One such program is RESTORE infusion Therapy®. RESTORE is the next generation of glutamate blocker therapy that works so quickly, you can begin to experience increased resiliency, a renewed zest for life and the energy to move forward after the very first session.
RESTORE is a uniquely formulated N-Methyl-D-aspartate receptor (glutamate) blocker that rapidly promotes “rewiring” of multiple areas in the brain’s neural network that are commonly associated with depression, anxiety and stress related conditions. By blocking these glutamate receptors, RESTORE can lead to rapid change and dramatic improvement by “restoring” your neurochemical balance and rapidly “rebooting” neural connections, as it reduces stress-related cortisol production and boosts immune and hormonal function.
But more than that, the unique “transformational experiences” that are often encountered during the sessions provide the opportunity to appreciate a new, vital and expanded perspective of life. Old negative thought patterns and feelings quickly fade away and are replaced by a renewed sense of well-being, optimism and self-confidence.
Meaningful shifts in mood, resilience, self-image, and wellbeing are something that the RESTORE infusion program excels in achieving, but the single most important thing that anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, burnout or PTSD can do is to speak up about it to their loved ones and seek help.
Don’t be afraid to tell people that you love that you’re not feeling okay, that something seems to be different. From the moment you start sharing the fact that you’re not in a good place, you are on the pathway to healing.
For Additional Information
Ketamine Research Institute – RESTORE Infusion Program
The RESTORE ketamine-based infusion program is intensive, highly individualized and strictly confidential. We don’t treat patients, we treat people… one person at a time. If you would like to learn more about the RESTORE program, please feel free to visit our website at (restoreinfusion.com) or our clinical research center (ketamineinstitute.com).
We are also available to assist you with a free private consultation, please feel free to call us at 800-850-6979, we want to help.
In the meantime, remember that we are all experiencing the same hardship — which means we can understand what others are going through — and it is important that we all try to be there for each other, so we can all have a faster route to empathy and resilience.