Inflammation describes our body’s way of responding to injury or infection. Sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it? Indeed, inflammation is natural and normal in this context. However, sometimes we experience chronic inflammation or inflammation that attacks the body itself instead of harmful things like bacteria and viruses.
Physical and spiritual inflammation
Inflammation can be acute or chronic. When it comes to acute inflammation, we may notice symptoms such as redness, swelling, tenderness, or even flu-like symptoms for a few hours or a few days. It usually subsides with rest and at-home treatments. However, long-term inflammation can be the result of conditions such as asthma, arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. It has also been linked to conditions such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
In addition to physical inflammation, we may experience spiritual inflammation as well. Spiritual inflammation occurs when are overloaded by our emotions. The intensity of our emotions outweighs the resources we are currently utilizing to manage them. Just like physical inflammation requires making positive changes so our body can recover, addressing spiritual inflammation is a process of reducing our experience of negative emotions and increasing the positive to create balance.
Self-care to alleviate inflammation.
There are many options when it comes to reducing, managing, and recovering from physical and spiritual inflammation. The key is having an open conversation with a health professional who we trust and knows us well, and trying different healing modalities to see what works best for our own unique body. As you address chronic inflammation with your doctor, therapist, or other members of your treatment team, here are some ideas you can try to cultivate optimal health at home!
· If it is medically appropriate for you, try a gentle dietary cleanse. A gentle dietary cleanse means eating a variety of whole, nutritious foods like lean protein, healthy fats, and leafy green vegetables. Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine. Take a good quality probiotic such as doTERRA’s PB Assist. Reduce your intake of sugar, additives, preservatives, and other unnatural substances. A simple, gentle dietary cleanse will reduce the toxic load your body is under until you feel better.
· You can try a spiritual detox as well! For a certain amount of time, reduce or eliminate your use of email or social media. Limit your engagement of the news to once a day using a reputable, non-inflammatory source such as NPR or PBS. Use the time you are not spending on technology to do things like yoga, practice meditation, or reading a book that soothes your soul.
· Exercise appropriately for your body as your body is NOW. This may mean taking a break from vigorous exercise in favor of gentle ways of moving your body such as yoga, swimming, or even taking a fun dance class. Ask your body for guidance. What sort of movement is your body craving right now? Give your body the movement it needs… even if that means it needs some time to completely rest.
· Be mindful of your mind. If you don’t have a regular meditation practice, now is a great time to begin! Start with sitting quietly for five minutes. Set a timer. Focus on your breath. If you find yourself paying attention to something other than your breath, that is okay. When you notice that happening, say to yourself, “thinking” and return your attention to your breath. Keep your meditation practice simple. It doesn’t have to be a complex practice in order to be beneficial!
· Keep a journal. Write daily. Write a few pages in the morning to clear your mind for the day, or before bed so you don’t carry worries with you into sleep. Try it both ways and see what works best for you!
· Try doTERRA On Guard. This essential oil blend supports the body’s immune system, protects the body from seasonal and environmental toxins, and provides and uplifting aroma.
· Do something that brings you joy every day. What do you most love to do that relieves stress? Color? Cross-stitch? Curl up with a good book? Making the time to do activities that we enjoy, or if our mood is low, we used to enjoy or think we might enjoy again someday, increases our internal resources for coping with stress. Set aside as few as 15 minutes or as much as an hour to do something that brings you pleasure every single day!
What have you tried to reduce physical or spiritual inflammation? What helps?