In times of crisis, there is great opportunity.

Many of us have never experienced the sort of stressors that the current corona virus pandemic has unleashed. There have been ten major pandemics in the last 250 years. There will be more in the future. This is the ebb and flow of nature. Try as we might, we cannot completely control it. However, we can seize the opportunity to remediate health problems that this crisis has brought into sharp focus. It is an unfortunate fact that those who suffer from heart disease, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes are at greater risk of dying if infected by the corona virus. In America, over half the adult population have one or more of these risk factors. Even before this pandemic, people have been suffering and dying prematurely due to these chronic illnesses, the majority of which are preventable and even reversible.

Scientists and healthcare professionals are looking for ways to control the coronavirus, either by cure or vaccine, but these methods are still being investigated and are not currently available. That timeline is beyond our individual influence. There is only one thing that you can control during this crisis and that is how you will react. You can take action and improve your health now.

How will you use this opportunity? It only takes a few minutes to begin building new, healthier habits. It is important to make these changes in small increments. Small actions are easier to perform and repeat. Day by day, you can string a few heart-healthy activities together that can improve your cardiovascular health. You could add one extra vegetable or fruit to every meal. You could perform short bursts of physical activity and gradually increase the interval. You could start a meditation practice with one simple deep breath.

These small changes will create big dividends over time. In my experience as a medical doctor, I have seen how patients are energized by the benefits of these seemingly miniscule changes to their daily routine. Gradually, they will make more small changes and reap larger benefits; their sleep improves, they feel calmer, they are more efficient at work. Their endurance improves and so they can exercise more. They exercise more and become stronger and more resilient. As they make better choices, their health improves. This process is entirely within your control.

Dr. Aihan Kuhn and I have been writing a series of books called True Wellness. This series helps people make positive lifestyle changes to decrease their burden of disease and increase health and well-being by integrating Eastern and Western healing modalities. We are pleased to announce the publication of our third book, True Wellness for Your Heart. In this volume, we address an integrated approach to the prevention and treatment cardiovascular disease. Of particular interest during this corona virus pandemic are the ways in which qigong, stress management, nutrition, gratitude, and social connectedness can positively influence heart disease and hypertension. These changes can decrease the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and improve overall health resilience by reducing chronic inflammation and improving immune system function.

We strongly encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity that this crisis offers. The corona virus has highlighted the areas in which we are vulnerable. Use this knowledge to build momentum toward healing. Make one small change today to enhance your well-being. Turn the stress of this pandemic into action now for a healthier future. We wish you every success on this journey.

The above is an original article and video by Catherine Kurosu, MD, L.Ac., co-author of True Wellness for Your Heart: Combine the best of Western and Eastern medicine for optimal heart health with Aihan Kuhn, CMD, OBT., Publication Date, May 2020, YMAA Publication Center, ISBN 978-1-59439-735-6.