Secret Ingredient to Stoke Immune System

What is the secret ingredient to stoke your immune system during this stressful time, or DTST? (During This Stressful Time is a phrase we use so often now I think it deserves its own abbreviation, DTST.)

One of the best steps you can take is to bolster your immune system. It’s your body’s internal defense system. Combined with the inflammatory response, the immune response comes to our rescue every day, 24/7.

Well, DTST, we need our immune system to be in tip-top, best-possible fighting shape. This is obviously a premier, super high, gotta do it priority. Keeping your defenses up against invading microbes has never been more important.

But. . . how do you do it? 

You can probably guess some items on the list already. Eat lots of fruits and veggies. Get regular exercise and good sleep. Don’t smoke. Drink alcohol only in moderation. De-stress.

But there is one magic ingredient that usually doesn’t make the list. I call it a “secret” ingredient because, even though there is a ton of evidence to prove its value—in fact it may be more powerful than all those other steps—it might as well be secret because most people don’t use it nearly enough nor do they know about its titanic healing and life-prolonging powers.

Even better, this ingredient is free and infinite in supply. Plus, it’s fun to use! 

What is this magic factor that’s fun, free, infinite in supply, and incredibly good for you?

In its most concentrated form we call it love. As it spreads out, I call it connection. The force of connection—from love to friendship to a relationship with a song or a cause—the force of connection does us more good, and spares us more ill, than any single force in the universe.

Connection—to people, pets (I adore dogs, but if you’re a cat person, that’s fine), places, ideas, objets d’art, the past, certain activities—connection to anything or anyone you care deeply about, that force does you more good than you likely know. Far more good. It enriches and actually lengthens your life. It provides you with a special satisfaction, with what Aristotle called eudaimon, literally “good spirit”, but much richer than that short term can impart. Aristotle deemed eudaimon as the highest good for human beings, the deepest satisfaction and fulfillment, what Maslow would call self-actualization, the most harmonious and joyful state a person can achieve.

And it all depends upon connection.

Not focusing on yourself, but on the connections your self can make outside of yourself. These are the connections and this is the force that, among other benefits, strengthens your immune system big time.

Since it’s free, fun, good for you, and easy to find, use it. Get and give massive doses of it every day. Even in quarantine or isolation, you do not need to be disconnected or lonely. Being lonely is bad for you. But you can cure loneliness with a:

  • phone call,
  • book,
  • piece of music,
  • dog (the best!),
  • email,
  • text,
  • trip down memory lane,
  • daydream,
  • fantasy

All you have to do is connect outside of yourself to anything, as long as you care deeply about it. Caring mildly is good too, just not as potent as caring deeply. Yes, the effect is dose-dependent, so if you want the really big bang for your connection buck, make it a connection you care deeply about.

This is the secret, the most magical ingredient we have to bolster immune function

And while you’re connecting, don’t forget the best foods*—citrus of all kinds; red bell peppers; Greek yogurt; almonds; broccoli; ginger; garlic’ turmeric; green tea; papaya; spinach; berries; as well as special mushrooms (all available in powder form on Amazon) like Reishi; Lions Mane; Turkey Tail (don’t you love these names?); and cordyceps; as well as shellfish, for the zinc. And of course, exercise, meditate, pray, and sleep well.

But, above all, use copious amounts of the secret ingredient that should no more be secret DTST, connection. Connection, and its mother, love, drive the very best in life. The vast sea of connections beckons like a beautiful, infinite, shimmering pool. Jump in, have fun, and live long. And these days, stave off those nasty bugs with a super-charged immune system!

Warm wishes,

Edward (Ned) Hallowell, M.D.

If you want to learn more about living a connected life, read Dr. Hallowell’s book: Connect

or watch his YouTube video on The Power of Vitamin Connect

*Disclaimer: These foods may be helpful in building your immune system, but they DO NOT prevent or protect you from COVID-19.  Here is a link to the CDC guidelines on How to Protect yourself.

Safety with COVID-19

Dear Clients and Visitors,

We are all concerned about safety with COVID-19, which is why the Hallowell Centers are closely monitoring the current situation regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19.)

Since the health and safety of our clients and employees is of utmost importance to us, The Hallowell Centers will remain open to meet your needs, but during this crisis and for your safety, all of the services will be provided remotely for the foreseeable future.

Please note that all of our clinicians in Boston MetroWest, NYC, SFO, Palo Alto and Seattle are geared up to work with clients through virtual platforms, or even just the telephone, although having a visual does enhance the experience. Call your center to get instructions to set this up (it’s WAY simple if I can do it, believe me!) so we can remain connected and provide the hope and help we’re in the business of providing.

For the most up-to-date news that relates to the center you visit, click their link below:

BostonMetroWest

New York City

San Francisco

Hallowell Todaro – Palo Alto and Seattle

Our staff and all clients are highly encouraged to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for coronavirus (see below) to appropriately respond to the potential public health threat posed by the virus.

Steps to take:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash immediately.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

If you do get sick, please call your primary care doctor for instructions before going to their office or to an urgent care or ER. If there is a real risk that you have COVID-19, they will order that test and direct you to a specialized testing site. This will protect you and others from unnecessary exposure.

Here are are some useful links for the latest information and guidance in this still-evolving situation:

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.

World Health Organization

Dr. Hallowell's Coronavirus Advice

Dr. Hallowell shares some basic facts about COVID-19 and practical advice on prevention and reducing anxiety in his podcast.

LISTEN HERE! Remember to stay safe, be careful and never worry alone!

Dr. Hallowell takes a moment in these uncertain times to tell you what his centers in Boston MetroWest and NYC are doing to address the issues created by the threat of Covid-19, as well as what he and his wife, Sue, are doing at home in his blog post on Managing These Uncertain Times.

How to talk to kids about the coronavirus, Hallowell Todaro blog post.

Stuck at home? Activities to Keep Kids Busy

How To Face Your Fears

When I first started speaking in public, I was terrified to speak in front of people. I had a phobia of public speaking. However, I had messages I wanted to share with the general public. I wanted to share what I knew about ADHD and other psychological topics.  So what was I to do? In my podcast on  How To Face Your Fears,” I describe how I overcame my fear of public speaking and offer ways you can overcome your phobia or fear.

As such, I invite you to listen and learn “How to Face Your Fears.”

LISTEN NOW! 

What’s the Difference Between Fear and Phobia?

Fear is an emotional response to perceived or real danger. It can be a wonderful ally as long as it goes off when it should. For example, when it keeps you from putting yourself in a dangerous situation.

When fear is of a specific thing, we call it a phobia.  A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder that describes an excessive and irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation. Such as, fear of flying, fear of heights and fear of public speaking.

Phobias involve intense fear surrounding an object or situation that realistically poses little or no real danger. They are different from common fears in that the associated anxiety is so strong it interferes with daily life and the ability to function normally.  People suffering from phobias may go to extreme lengths to avoid encountering or experiencing the feared object or situation. If you have a fear or phobia that is paralyzing and life-defeating,  in addition to consulting with your family doctor, be sure to consult with experts in other fields

How the Hallowell Center Can Help

Treatment helps most people with phobias. Options include therapy, medication or both.  When should you seek therapy? Generally when the phobia causes intense fear, anxiety or panic and it stops you from your normal routine or causes significant distress. Taking the time to get diagnosed and set up a treatment plan is an investment in your health and well-being.

Find out how one of our qualified mental health professionals can help you by calling The Hallowell Center:

Boston MetroWest at 978-287-0810

New York City at 212-799-7777

San Francisco at 415-967-0061

Seattle at 206-420-7345

 

A New Solution for Anxiety: The Alpha-Stim

by Rebecca Shafir, M.A.CCC Personal Development and Executive Functioning coach at the Hallowell Center MetroWest

Perhaps the most common concern my entrepreneur clients report is anxiety and its cousin, insomnia. Founders have every reason to be anxious. In fact, if they are perfectly at ease with their startup, I get suspicious!  For those  new to  entrepreneurship there are constant battles between vision and reality, hope and doubt, deadlines and the worry of having no deadlines at all.  I encourage my entrepreneurs-at- risk to hold off on big, costly decisions until they get a handle on their anxiety. Control over anxiety means:

  • consistently good sleep
  • giving emotion a back seat when solving a problem
  • being able to re-frame mistakes and setbacks and move forward
  • the ability to inhibit impulsive actions and reactions.

Emotional control is one of the four core skills essential to healthy and successful entrepreneurship.

A review of the most helpful of anxiety-reducing activities include: meditation, yoga, exercise, visualization and  mindfulness training etc. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is another fine option, but it requires regular sessions and practice. Others benefit from software tools like The Muse, Wild Divine, Heartmath and other kinds of biofeedback. The usual objections to these approaches include “not enough time,” or “the more I try to quiet my mind, the louder it gets.”

Let me tell you about another safe, effective, well-tested approach for anxiety, insomnia (and depression). It is a form of cranial-electrotherapy called Alpha-Stim. It is a user-friendly, handheld device the size of a cell phone. It requires no practice or effort by the user, and it can be used while doing most other activities except driving.

Moods and emotions are controlled through electro-chemical signals in your brain. When these signals aren’t functioning properly, the hormones and neurotransmitters that regulate your emotions can become unbalanced resulting in an anxious state.

The Alpha-Stim device generates a signal that produces a waveform conducive to calmness and a better state of mind − the Alpha frequency  (8-12 Hz). The Alpha-Stim has been very helpful with many of my clients. For those that notice no change with the Alpha-Stim, other approaches such medications or neurofeedback may be more helpful.

To learn more about the Alpha-Stim, click here or email info@epii.com.

If you are local to the Boston MetroWest area, we offer a personalized Alpha-Stim demonstration and educational session at the Hallowell Center in Sudbury, Mass. If you’d like to make an appointment call 978 287 0810.