Creating Certainty in Uncertain Times

By Heath and Nicole Reed
[Savvy Self-Care ]

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, we know to wear a mask in public, keep a 6-foot distance, and continuously sanitize our hands and space. Additionally, we have been asking ourselves, “What else can I do to feel safe and protected?” and “What else am I capable of changing or controlling when things feel out of control?” 

We find that acknowledging the stress and tension while leaning on a daily self-care practice helps us mitigate the chronic, widespread pandemic of increased uncertainty and anxiety. Here are three healing approaches you can practice to strengthen your immune system and generate a sense of safety. Experience and feel the difference as you move your body, circulate your breath, and change your focus. 

The Miracle Molecule of Nitric Oxide

Did you know that every time you inhale through your nose your body creates an amazing chemical reaction that boosts your immune system, reduces inflammation, improves blood flow to all the organs, allows for smooth muscle relaxation, and more? This miracle molecule is called nitric oxide. Nobel Prize Laureate Louis J. Ignarro, PhD, says, “Enzymes have been found in the nose and in the paranasal sinuses that produce nitric oxide.”1 You can increase the production of nitric oxide by eating foods containing high levels of it, like arugula, celery, and lettuce. Exercising and simply breathing through your nose also increase nitric oxide production. Ignarro continues, “Breathing through your nose is one of the most beneficial things you can do for the overall health of your body and for your longevity.”2 Because nearly 80 percent of the population are breathing inefficiently through their mouths, nasal breathing can restore wellness for the vast majority of people.

Say Yes to Nitric Oxide with the Humming Breath 

The humming breath has been shown to increase nitric oxide production up to 15 times more than normal breathing, and humming has been shown to reduce stress and induce calmness.3 Just inhale through your nose. Then, as you exhale, keep your mouth closed and resonate a vibratory “hummmmmmm” sound. Hum the entire length of your exhalation. Practice for at least 2 minutes or until you feel a shift in your mind and body. 

The Energetic Architecture of Our Immune System

According to traditional Chinese medicine, wei qi (pronounced “way chee”) is a force field of energy extending from our skin that protects us from external pathogens. Our wei qi may be strengthened with a synergy of conscious movement and breath, partnered with intentional focus. Feel the power of reinforcing your immune system and restoring balance with the following ancient qigong practice.

Protection Cross Qigong 

Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart. Begin with your wrists crossed in front of your belly, and inhale as you slowly lift your wrists up in front of your body and in front of and above your face. On your exhale, allow your arms to part and float down by your sides. Repeat several times. Straighten your legs on your in-breath and slightly bend your knees on your out-breath. On each repetition, imagine you are drawing a golden light surrounding you and protecting you like a luminescent shield. Once you feel yourself flowing with the movement, add the mantra, “I am safe and protected.” Continue as you generate inner refreshment and feel your presence grow. After about 2 minutes (or whenever you feel complete), center your energy by bringing palm over palm to rest on your lower belly. Smile and enjoy feeling the energy you just created.

Control Center

One of the key features of an optimized immune system is accurately ferreting out what is innate and helpful versus what is foreign and pathological. Our lymphatic system is constantly filtering through all our cellular debris to discover and determine what is to be kept in circulation and what needs to be discarded. If this system goes awry, we won’t be protected from pathogens, or conversely, our immune system may mount an unnecessary and catastrophic autoimmune response. In the same vein, our brain can sometimes go awry by inaccurately focusing on nonthreats and things we have no control over, triggering anxiety, exaggerated fears, and out-of-control worry and doubt. 

Modern-day humans invest an inordinate amount of time and vexation focusing on things we can’t control. We aren’t referring to control in terms of oppression, but as something we can instantly change. As much as I’d love to be able to, I can’t control (instantly change) how my spouse feels; if my client will feel better after a session; or if a marketing campaign I launch will reap increased revenue. But I can control (instantly change) how I express myself to my spouse; how present and attentive I am throughout my therapeutic sessions; and if I choose to enjoy the process of creating, polishing, and sending out a marketing campaign. When my actions become obfuscated by investing effort in the uncontrollable, I subjugate my free will into the victim role, rife with complaint, blame, and criticism.

Accurately distinguishing between what I can and cannot control in the moment is a profound way to reallocate wasted energy in a world full of uncontrollables and refocus my attention on what I can reliably impact. Letting go of what we cannot change also diminishes our stress levels and can reduce feelings of anxiety, worry, and nervousness. Below is a list of things we believe are uncontrollable (we can’t change instantly). We invite you to take a deep breath before and after you read each item and notice how you experience the item in your body before moving on to the next item. By listening and favoring your body’s sensations in response to these items—rather than the stories or judgments your mind makes up about them—you begin to activate the truth detector provided by your body intelligence.


What I can’t control: 

• I can’t control whether other people wear a face mask. 

• I can’t control how other people feel.

• I can’t control what’s on the news.


Now it’s your turn. Fill in the blanks with three different items: 

I can’t control , , or .


It’s natural to notice resistance when encountering and trying on new ideas, though remember it’s impossible to diminish resistance by fighting against it. To paraphrase Carl Jung, “What we resist persists.” Following are a few things we can control. 


What I can control: 

• I can control when and where I wear a face mask.

• I can control how well I sanitize my hands and space.

• I can control how close I stand next to someone.


Now it’s your turn. Fill in the blanks with three different items: 

I can control , , and .


Daily, we possess the power to instantly impact our thoughts, breath, and movements. We also have the power to transform the quality of our lives with a consistent practice of self-care. Self-care encompasses a wide range of practices that include movement, conscious breathing, meditation, journaling, exercise, eating nourishing foods, kind touch, family time, creating, daydreaming, connections with friends, prayer, napping, and so much more! Discovering and choosing to invest in a practice that works for you is one way to create certainty in uncertain times. Action is the antidote to anxiety. Refuse to be a victim of circumstance and activate your essence. Radiate your wholeness and resourcefulness so we may all benefit from you being you. 


1. Heidi Dickerson, Nitric Oxide and Mouth Breathing: Physiology You Want to Understand (Las Vegas: LVI Global, 2017), 2, accessed September 2020,

2. Heidi Dickerson, Nitric Oxide and Mouth Breathing: Physiology You Want to Understand, 3.

3. Jonathan Goldman and Andi Goldman, The Humming Effect: Sound Healing for Health and Happiness (Rochester: Healing Arts Press, 2017), 6–18.

 Heath and Nicole Reed are co-founders of Living Metta or Living “Loving Kindness.” The Reed’s have been team teaching national and international workshops and retreats since 2001. They place a strong emphasis on growing body intelligence, intuition, and self-care. They invite you to join their membership community to inspire and refresh your practice. Their bodywork, self-care videos, webinars, home study courses, and more may be found at