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Six Strategies for Managing Stress Around the COVID-19 Virus

1. Healthy diet: Consume natural foods whenever possible. Avoid simple sugars, candy, soda, and fruit juices. Fried and processed foods tax the digestive system. Your body cannot process the man-made molecules that are in the preservatives, flavorings, and colorings of most packaged food products. Instead, these foods generate inflammation and place stress on the immune system. Dietary supplements can help support your immune system – everything from good quality mushroom extracts to CBD and fish oil, vitamin D, vitamin A, and vitamin E.

2. Avoid information overload: While it can be tempting to hunt for all of the available information, limit yourself to accessing just enough facts and up to date statistics that will help you make rational plans. Realize that the “experts” on TV don’t always know much about emerging infectious diseases. By taking a deep breath and acknowledging that no one has all the answers, you can avoid unwanted stress and anxiety.

3. Exercise: With gyms and yoga classes shutting down, one excellent alternative is to take a walk in a nature setting: the park, the woods, or along the beach. In addition to distracting you from anxiety, exercise also changes your brain function, and can increase expression of feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain as well as strengthen your immune system.

4. Practice gratitude: In times of uncertainty and worry, negative thoughts can dominate. Practicing gratitude can help your mind remember the positive elements of your life and, if your gratitude is shared, may have a ripple effect of increased positivity.

5. Try meditating: For some people, daily mindfulness meditation has an enormous positive impact not only on mental health but also on physical health.

6. Be with people you love. When everything is shutting down and there’s a lack of social opportunities, that’s when it’s most important to be with friends and family with whom you can interact and socialize.


Dr. Lewis is the founder of the Brain Health Education and Research Institute, and a member of the Nugevity Scientific Advisory Board. He is an expert on nutritional interventions for brain health, particularly the use of omega-3 fatty acids for the prevention, management, and rehabilitation of concussions and traumatic brain injury (TBI). He retired from the U.S. Army in 2011 with the rank of Colonel after a distinguished 31-year career. His pioneering work in the military and since has helped thousands of people around the world, and is regularly featured in the media including CNN’s Sanjay Gupta MD and Fox News. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Tulane University School of Medicine. Dr. Lewis is board-certified and a Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine and the American College of Nutrition. This article first appeared on Dr. Lewis’ blog.

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