By Charles Kumolu
Following widespread panic over the increasing number of those infected with Coronavirus in Nigeria, renowned Life-Coach, Lanre Olusola,in this interview, cautions against fear, saying it could kill faster than the disease. He explains how fear reduces immune system, leaving people vulnerable.
What do you make of the public reaction to outbreak ofCOVID-19 in the country?
Over the past few days, many have reached out to me on dealing with fear, anxiety and panic that the Coronavirus pandemic brings. Everywhere you turn today you hear or read about COVID-19, a new type of Coronavirus that is causing chaos, many illnesses, deaths and crashing financial markets globally. This situation has become so frightening, and we must all take precautions, as prescribed by the WHO and other medical institutions.
As a life coach, what do you advice Nigerians do to stay mentally stable amid the pandemic?
Most importantly, people should maintain a positive mindset. Note that in countries with high numbers of people infected, not everyone was infected. Look at the ratios of infected to non-infected people. Why can’t you fall into the population of the non-infected? Take all the precautions stated above and by God’s grace and mercy, we will all be okay.
Part of the precautions we also need to take is managing stress as a result of fear, anxiety, worry and panic which is by far more dangerous in the long run for everyone than the Coronavirus.
Please note that the current statistics reveal that only two percent of the population that gets the virus may eventually fall seriously ill or die. This number in itself is very far from the number of people that generally fall ill and die every day for other non-Coronavirus related reasons.
I am not trying to downplay the pandemic but if weentertain panic, fear and anxiety, our bodies will switch to toxic stress mode which causes the blood vessels around the heart to constrict, and this means there will be less blood flow and oxygen to the brain, and 1400 neurophysiological responses will potentially make us more vulnerable to several other viruses.
You mentioned earlier that panic and fear are far more dangerous than the pandemic disease. Could you expatiate more?
Panic, fear, and anxiety can affect your mental, emotional and physical health in the long term. You begin to make irrational judgements and rash decisions as a result of several amygdala hijacks that will eventually put you in several cycles of flight and fight modes which will eventually cause more fear, panic and stress. This will also put you in a self-protection mode which uses up all your body’s available energy, shuts down your body’s growth mode and eventually shuts down your immune system. This you also do not want.
Remaining in a constant state of flight and fight will instruct your brain to release over 1,400 neurotransmitters, adrenaline and cortisol, which have a very severe effect on your body and brain.
They can also cause Cortisol Ratio reversal, Which means increased prolactin and Adrenocorticotropic Hormone ,ACTH, levels increase,which, in turn, can compromise or shut down your immune system. This is the last thing you need right now.
All the negative news and statistics can also trigger apsychological nocebo effect. It is the opposite of the placebo effect. If you keep focusing on something negative the tendency is that it can come true. This can become a self-fulfilling prophesy for you.
You talked about cortisol, which is supposed to be ahormone that regulates immune response. How then is it harmful to the body?
Cortisol is more like an alarm system in the body to serve as a warning for you to protect your body from endangerment but increased or excess production of cortisol has some side effects in the body such asdiminished immunity which makes you vulnerable to a wider range of diseases,reduced glucose utilization which leads to diabetes and weight issues, increase bone loss as a result of depletion of calcium, magnesium and potassium,increased fat accumulation in the body and impaired memory and brain cell destruction.
Having mentioned managing stress levels, fear, and panic,what other important preventive measures need to be imbibed?
Trust that if you keep your immune system high your body will protect you. Practice good hygiene by washing hands for at least 20 seconds, use sanitizer, avoid large crowds. Drink water optimally – hydrate your system. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Put some distance between yourself and other people. At least two metres is recommended by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control ,NCDC. Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions consult more regularly with your healthcare provider for additional steps to protect yourself. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your inner elbow when you cough or sneeze. Immediately dispose of used tissues.
Frequently clean and disinfect touched surfaces like tables, doorknobs, light switches, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets,and sinks. Remember that the virus can live for at least 12 hours and up to three days on surfaces. Just wash your hands with soap immediately you touch any surface or wear gloves when you touch public surfaces. It can also on fabric, for 6-12 hours, wash immediately you take off your clothes. Normal laundry detergent will kill the virus. Eat healthy take food supplements and avoid processed and junk foods – keep your body strong. Use healthy foods to boost your immune system. Take Vitamin C: citrus fruits, red bell peppers,broccoli, kale, strawberries, kiwi, and guava, among others. Eat a lot of garlic and ginger. Take probiotics like yogurt. Take Herbs such as ginseng,myrrh and turmeric. Get your Vitamin D. Eat Foods rich in vitamin D like wildsalmon and mushrooms. Get the early morning sun rays. Eat a lot of raw honey.This is an antioxidant.
Stay positive by focusing on preventing the coronavirus and protecting yourself and your loved ones, which is the best you can do at this time.
Will the COVID-19 recede in warm weather, as flu viruses often do? According to preliminary study by Chinese researchers, this could be true. Good news, we have warm weather all the time.Nigeria may be too hot for Coronavirus to thrive and spread like it has done in other countries. However, please follow all the necessary preventive measures seriously and practice social distancing.
Go to Instagram and search for all my posts on the campaign #BoostYourDoseofDOSE and follow all the exercises recommended to buildup your physical, mental and emotional immunity.