How to Beat Anxiety During this Pandemic 

Treat Anxiety and blood stasis with natural remedies, which includes walnuts

 April 4, 2020

By  Juli Kramer, PhD

By using the wisdom of Chinese medicine, you can beat anxiety during this pandemic. The key is to strengthen your Kidneys and calm your mind.

Information is power.

In this article, you will learn how Chinese medicine views

  • the effects of fear and anxiety on the body
  • how to use food, mindfulness exercises, and creativity projects to prevent or reverse these damaging effects
You can overcome fear and anxiety by strengthening your kidneys.

Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

How do I overcome fear and anxiety during Covid-19?

Anxiety is defined as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.


Chinese medicine advice on how to beat anxiety

As a result of thousands of years of research, Chinese medicine has determined that fear and anxiety both relate to Kidney balance and strength.

The role of the Kidneys

First, some people are born with weaker Kidney systems and have greater fear throughout their lives. Others are born with strong Kidney systems and might have a higher tolerance to fear and shock.

Second, you can make lifestyle and dietary choices to help you strengthen your Kidneys to beat anxiety. Keep reading, and you will learn more about what foods you should eat to strengthen your Kidneys.

Finally, it’s critical to understand that there is a mind/body connection associated with fear. Not only can weak or imbalanced Kidneys increase your anxiety, feelings of fear and anxiety can HARM the Kidneys!

Calming your mind helps you overcome anxiety
Your body affects your mindset, AND your mind affects your body.
You have the power to take control of this cycle.

Long term fear can harm your Kidneys! For example, fear can lead to symptoms such as

  • involuntary urination or
  • loss of control over the bowels.

More importantly for Covid-19 is that continued fear can harm the Lungs as well.

In Chinese medicine, energy moves throughout your body, much like electricity through your home. If a section of this energy circuit is blocked, it’s like a broken light switch. The energy cannot get where it needs to go.

If the energy is blocked in the Kidneys, qi from the Kidneys cannot nourish the Lungs. Subsequently, the Lungs may suffer greater harm from the effects of Covid-19.

Remember, Covid-19 attacks the Lungs!

If the Kidneys and Lungs are suffering, it is much more difficult to beat anxiety.

In that vein, to overcome fear and anxiety, you need to keep your Lungs healthy!

You should keep reading to learn specific strategies to take control of your emotions and boost your Kidney and Lung health!

Food remedies to strengthen the kidneys and beat anxiety

Black sesame seeds and walnuts

Eating a lot of organic black sesame seeds and walnuts can help regulate Kidney energy.


  • 1 Tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp raw walnuts


  • Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees
  • Place black sesame seeds and walnuts on a baking sheet
  • Cook in the oven for 5-7 minutes
  • When you can smell the nuts, you will know they are ready
  • Add the nuts to cooked steel cut oats, millet, or polenta

Walnuts on their own strengthen the Kidneys and warm the Lungs. As a medicine, they can treat

  • Asthma
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Clear or white, watery mucus
  • Aversion to cold
  • Weak bladder
Fresh or dried mulberries help you boost your immune system to beat anxiety
Dried and fresh mulberries

Fresh or dried mulberries

Another great food remedy to help you overcome anxiety is dried or fresh mulberries.

Eating mulberries is especially helpful if you experience:

  • Dizziness
  • Tinnitus
  • Weakness of your lower back
  • Dry stools
  • Premature gray hair

There is no specific recipe. You can add the dried or fresh mulberries to warm dishes. They are a nice addition to a chicken or beef dish, warm rice, or cooked grains.

Dried ginger

Dried ginger warms the Lungs, Kidneys, and digestive system. Adding dried ginger, about 1/8 teaspoon to a meat or vegetarian stew or kichadi, is great for overcome fear and anxiety.

Dried ginger also helps if you suffer from:

  • Painful joints
  • Heavy and numb feelings in your limbs

Mindfulness exercises to calm the mind to beat anxiety

Mindfulness exercises calm the mind, strengthen the kidney, and help you beat anxiety

Chinese medicine has thousands of years of documented case studies demonstrating the connection between the mind and body, to emotional and physical health. For instance, I previously described how beautiful music can calm your mind and heal your body.

Using this knowledge, you can beat anxiety.

The fact is that you control your mind.

You will have better control by regularly performing the exercises below!

You might be living in fight or flight mode, activated by fear and anxiety. This reaction comes from the most primitive section of your brain. These exercises literally force you to use different sections of your brain, helping slow down your sympathetic nervous system.

That’s a technical description of how these exercises do one thing – CALM THE MIND.

Using your brain differently to beat anxiety

First, a quick analogy.

Doing activities to shift brain activity from the fear center to other areas can help you overcome fear and anxiety
  • Stand on one leg for as long as you can What happens? How does your leg feel? Do you feel off balance? Did you topple?
  • Stand on one leg again, AND BEFORE your leg gets too tired, shift to your other leg. How was this experience different? Do you experience as much discomfort?
  • Now, stand on both legs. How do you feel? Are you stronger? Can you stand calmly longer?

Standing on two legs gives you better balance.

Using more of your mental and physical resources, will give you greater emotional balance!

Completing the meditations and activities will give you more resources to draw upon.

Doing them regularly will give you greater strength to beat your anxiety.

You can choose exercises based on your level of experience with intentionally focusing your mind. If you already have a strong mindfulness practice, these exercises might add to your repertoire!

Beginner level mindfulness exercises

The counting meditation will help you take a break from your worries.

Counting meditation

  • Sit comfortably and quietly with your eyes closed
  • Feel the rhythm of your breathing
  • Allow yourself to calm a little bit more
  • Take a deep breath
  • Open your eyes
  • Count the number of:
    • colors you see around you
    • sounds you hear
    • odors you smell
    • textures you can feel right around you
  • Close your eyes and take a deep breath
  • Flutter your eyes open gently to continue your day
The 360 degrees meditation helps you focus on the world around you to reduce anxiety.

360 degrees

  • Stand comfortably in a safe space with your eyes closed
  • Feel the rhythm of your breathing
  • Take a deep breath and allow yourself to calm
  • Open your eyes
  • Look out in front of you and try to memorize what you see
  • Close your eyes
  • Try to recall what you saw
  • Open your eyes and check your memory
  • Turn 90 degrees to your left
  • Repeat the exercise
  • Turn 90 degrees to your left
  • Repeat the exercise
  • Turn 90 degrees again
  • Repeat the exercise
  • Return to your starting point
  • Close your eyes and take a deep breath

Intermediate to advance level meditation

You might already be familiar with Jack Kornfield’s work. He brings peace and calm to thousands. I include one of his meditations here from his book, A Path with Heart.

Moreover, you can visit his website for additional resources to help you beat anxiety and cope during the pandemic.

Meditation: Reflecting on Difficulty

  • Sit quietly, feeling the rhythm of your breathing, allowing yourself to become calm and receptive
  • Think of a difficulty that you face in your spiritual practice or anywhere in your life
  • As you sense this difficulty, notice how it affects your body, heart, and mind
  • Feeling it carefully, begin to ask yourself a few questions, listening inwardly for their answers
    • How have I treated this difficulty so far?
    • How have I suffered by my own response and reaction to it?
    • What does this problem as me to let go of?
    • What suffering is unavoidable, is my measure to accept?
    • What great lesson might it be able to teach me?
    • What is the gold, the value, hidden in the situation?
  • In using this meditation to consider your difficulties, the understanding and openings may come slowly
  • Take your time
  • As with all meditations, it can be helpful to repeat this reflection a number of times, listening each time for deeper answers from your body, heart, and spirit

Creativity exercises to beat anxiety

You might be a doer. Meditation and calming the mind come only with doing and distracting. Here are your exercises!

What if?

Do creative exercises that occupy and calm your mind.
Young man learning different languages

Ask yourself “what if” questions and then answer them! The more ridiculous the questions, the more distracted and caught up in the moment you might be.

Examples – What if:

  • the trees had pink trunks and purple leaves?
  • you could speak every language on the planet?
  • you could turn invisible?
  • your favorite television show was real?
  • you only wrote with your left hand for a day?

Create something NEW

  • Invent ten new uses for paper clips
  • Make a sculpture using only cotton balls and Q-tips
  • Hold three pens, pencils, or crayons in one hand; close your eyes and draw something on a piece of paper for 15 seconds; now enhance the picture or tell a story based on what you have drawn
  • Write new lyrics to an existing song; you could go easy, like replacing words to Row, Row, Row Your Boat, or hard, rewriting Bohemian Rhapsody.


Your Kidneys and Lungs need you to add nourishing foods to your diet, reduce processed foods, and drink more water. Make sure to add:

  • black sesame seeds
  • walnuts
  • mulberries
  • dried ginger.

Your Kidneys and Lungs need you to calm your mind. To help shift your thinking, for even short moments each day, you can do the meditations or creativity exercises.

By drawing upon these resources, you are no longer standing on one leg mentally. Most importantly, you will be standing on “both feet” to beat anxiety.

Juli Kramer, PhD

Dr. Juli Kramer earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, with a cognate in Counseling Psychology and her M.A. in Psychology. She has a diploma in Chinese Medicine Nutritional Therapy, and certificates in Chinese medicine from Dr. Zhang Yifang, Shanghai World Hospital, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. With over 30 years of experience as an educator, Dr. Kramer founded Radiant Shenti to teach people how Chinese medicine (TCM) can help them lead healthy, happy, and long lives.

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