Fallout shelters were big business in the 1960s.
Cold War fears prompted thousands of people with enough cash to build bunkers on their properties…
And stock them up with enough food, water and toilet paper to last for months.
Fast-forward to today…
Grocery store shelves are as empty as I’ve ever seen. And the coronavirus has the rich running to bunker manufacturers with fistfuls of cash.
The fear of uncertainty is taking a serious toll on the American public… and its health.
It’s critical that we fight it off.
Here’s what stress does to our bodies… and what we can do about it.
Barrage of Stress
The constant barrage of negative news regarding the virus can trigger serious physiological responses in the body.
When we’re stressed, the hormones cortisol and adrenaline are released… and our heart rate goes up as part of our fight-or-flight response.
That’s fine when we’re dealing with a dangerous situation. Because after the danger is gone, hormone levels return to normal.
But a constant barrage of stress keeps the response from turning off.
And when cortisol and other stress hormones are at elevated levels over the long term, that can do real damage to the body.
These stress hormones cause blood vessels to constrict.
And if the heart is pumping faster than normal, that raises blood pressure too. If the heart is working too hard for too long, it increases the risk of stroke and heart attack.
A prolonged blast of stress hormones and increased heart rate will do a number on the digestive system as well. It increases the likelihood of heartburn and acid reflux, and can lead to diarrhea or constipation because of the increase in stomach acids.
Dealing with long periods of stress also weakens the immune system…
When the body is dealing with what it perceives to be a risky situation, it stimulates the immune system to prevent infections and heal wounds.
But if it’s stimulated for too long, the immune system will eventually run out of juice and grow increasingly weaker.
That’s why people with chronic stress are more susceptible to the flu… and other viruses.
And to make matters worse, all of this anxiety tenses up our muscles. In a dangerous situation, this is to prevent injury. But when this goes on for an extended period of time, it can result in back pain, headaches and overall body aches.
So while it’s important to stay informed about everything going on right now… we need to do so without redlining our stress hormone levels.
Here are two tricks you can try today.
Right Under Our Noses
The olfactory sense plays a major role in balancing hormone levels.
And there are certain smells that trigger a significant physiological response.
Take oranges, for instance.
The vitamin C in citrus fruits – a huge immune booster – is known to combat stress and anxiety.
But it turns out you don’t even need to eat them to reap the benefits.
Just smelling an orange boosts the body’s production of serotonin (a hormone that makes you feel happy) and reduces the level of stress hormones in the process.
Smelling lavender is another amazing way to combat stress.
Components of the purple plant are found in body lotions, air fresheners and various potpourris… and there’s good reason for it.
The main component of lavender is linalool. And smelling this has been found to be as effective at combating stress as Valium. And you don’t need to eat it or rub it on your skin.
The results found that it was actually most effective when simply inhaled.
The world’s a scary place right now. And this virus is disrupting just about every aspect of our way of life. But it – like every other problem or inconvenience we’ve ever faced – will eventually pass.
So don’t blow your money on a bunker. Just hunker down, turn off the news as often as you can… and don’t forget to take a deep breath… especially if you’ve got oranges or lavender on hand.
Editor’s Note: What are you doing to keep your stress levels down right now? Drop us a line here.
For all of our ongoing coverage to help you get through the coronavirus crisis healthy (and sane), click here.