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Mindfulness is the Immune System of the Mind

Updated: Jul 31, 2022

The Immune System is pure genius. By design, it monitors the blood, organs, and systems searching diligently for foreign invaders. When a virus or bacteria are detected, the immune system kicks into high gear. Many different white blood cells are released and travel to the source of trouble. These little defenders gobble up any unwelcome intruders and destroy them. Then, as an act of pure brilliance, the immune system records how it defeated the pernicious squatters so it may enact the same defenses against repeat invasions.

The immune system is part of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). The ANS has two modes. The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). Unfortunately, like a See-Saw, only one mode can be active (or up) at a time.

The sympathetic nervous system is our stress response. It is the "fight or flight" reaction. In early times, we would see a saber toothed tiger, and a cascade of hormones would be released in the body to help us run faster or fight harder or climb higher. The adrenals release corticosteroids in the blood stream to be picked up by the muscles. The liver releases glycogen to fuel the muscles. We are then capable of so much more than under normal circumstances.

But for this to happen, we must shut down all non-essential systems. Think of Captain Kirk on Star Trek. The Klingons arrive, the Enterprise is under attack. Kirk commands all systems on the ship to shut down and all power is then diverted to shields and weapons. The cafeteria and the loading dock are no longer in operation; but the ship can defend itself. Once the attack is thwarted, the auxiliary systems can be returned to normal duty.

Our genius body does the same thing. When we perceive a threat, we shut down our parasympathetic nervous system. This is our digestion, our higher thinking, tissue repair, and our immune system. When we outrun the tiger, these systems come back on line.

Unfortunately, in today's world, we perceive everything as a threat. Phone calls at work, in-laws coming to town, trying to get kids to soccer practice on time, trying to meet the rising cost of food and gas. World events on the news, designed to keep us in constant fear. Our ANS is always responding to a threat. Since the ANS can only be in one mode at a time, (SNS or PNS) this means that our immune system and our digestion suffer most of the day. No wonder we have so much heartburn.

Mindfulness helps keep us in PNS. We focus our minds to what is really happening in this present moment. When we think about the past, we experience regret and guilt, when we dwell on the future, we feel anxiety and worry.

When we let go of all that and think only about what is happening right in front of us. When we breathe through this very moment, we can calm our bodies. We can convince our minds that we are not under attack. We can keep our digestion and immune system running normally.

The cells of our organs cannot determine what is happening outside of us. It is up to our minds to interpret outside circumstances and convey those messages to the rest of the body. The organs and systems then act accordingly. During mindfulness meditation, we calm our bodies and convince our minds that there is not threat. We are not under attack. There is no need to go on high alert.

Mindfulness is the immune system of our mind. Mindfulness allows us to observe and monitor the current moment around us without attachment or judgment. This allows us to to keep stress from infecting our mind and causing us to become ineffective.

Calming the body is what we achieve in our sessions at Tri State Holistic Wellness. I use various methods (Reiki, Acupressure, Tuning Forks, Chinese Cupping, Gua Sha) to calm the mind and body. I begin most sessions with a guided meditation designed to focus your mind on your breath. With the mind and body calm, the Autonomic Nervous System switches from the Sympathetic to Parasympathetic mode, and the subconscious mind can begin to heal you from within. Physical and emotional disturbances can then be addressed.

The body cannot heal on high alert.

Mindfulness is the immune system of the mind, fighting off stress invasions.

Joe Weigant is the owner / operator of Tri State Holistic Wellness (started in 2009). Joe has studied martial arts, fitness, exercise, nutrition, and holistic wellness for many years. Despite his knowledge of wellness, and being vegetarian for 10 years, Joe developed Stage 3.5 Colon Cancer in 2020. He put his knowledge to work and began dietary changes and herbal remedies to heal his cancer and reverse diabetes in a few short months. Cancer free now, he helps others achieve holistic wellness by working with body and mind to achieve optimum well-being for his clients.

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