Monday, July 26, 2021

How Stress Affects the Immune System

Photo by Mental Health America (MHA) from Pexels

As humans, we cannot survive without stress, no more than we can survive without each other. Stress is necessary because it helps us to cope with everyday life's situations. 

You can say the COVID-19 pandemic probably added more stress to our lives than we care to admit when it comes to our immune system, whose job is to fight disease-causing germs like viruses, and bacteria and to remove those pathogens from the body.   A weak immune system can lead to serious illnesses. However, many people do not know that stress is a major factor that can lead to an exhausted immune system.

Since more of us are vaccinated and getting back to normal activities, it is more important than ever to start doing more to lessen the stress in our lives.

Stress is pressures, strains, or changes placed on the body, which can affect your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. However, too much stress can seriously affect your psychological and spiritual well-being if you do not know how to handle or cope with these demands. When you are under too much stress, it is important to recognize it and do something about it. Unmanageable tension can lead to illnesses and chronic diseases. However, you can improve your resistance to too much worry by learning how to manage and control your life.

It is important to remember there are some occurrences in life that are just out of your control. There are many experiences in life you can learn to handle by identifying the stressors: actions that make you feel anxious and concerned. Here are some recommended ways to deal with stress:

Most of us do not realize that stress affects the digestive system and can lead to ulcers. Stressful responses increase strain on the circulatory system, which increases the heart rate. Moreover, stress affects the immune system by raising blood pressure, which leads to a myriad of illnesses and conditions. The long-term activation of stress leads to overexposure to cortisol and other hormones. As a result, there is a greater risk of developing heart disease, digestive problems, headaches, sleep deprivation issues, weight gain, and memory loss – not to mention anxiety and depression.

Unfortunately, stress is a part of life. It is not something you can control when it comes your way. However, you can take steps to manage how stress affects the immune system.

Some stress-fighting strategies include eating a healthy and well-balanced meal. When you are under additional stress, make certain you eat more foods high in B Vitamins, Vitamin C, Magnesium, and Zinc. These foods would include whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, nuts, legumes, and lean meats, respectively.

Getting enough sleep and regular exercise helps. Walking is one of the best forms of exercising because it strengthens the heart. You can also practice relaxation techniques, like yoga, which may enhance your libido. Meditate. Read a book or listen to music. You can dance away the stress, too!

Avoid self-medication. Even though you can use drugs to relieve stress temporarily, drugs will never remove the condition that causes the strain in the first place. Some medications may become habit-forming, and create more problems. Pills should only be taken on the advice of your physician.

Having a sense of humor does not hurt, either. Laughter is known to reduce stress. Add some TV sitcoms, comedies, and movies to your ‘what to watch list.’ The overall point is that learning to manage stress can lead to a longer and healthier life.

Stressed spelled backward is desserts. Researchers found that chocolate takes a bite out of stress. Dark chocolate specifically reduces the stress hormone cortisol.

Have you ever wondered why you reach for a chocolate bar when under a lot of stress? It may not just be a coincidence. Maybe your body is truly telling you something important.

But most of all, share your anxieties with friends, relatives, a lover, or a spouse by talking about your concerns or worries. Maintaining a strong immune system should be your number one priority. As someone once said, “Whatever is causing you bad stress, eliminate it.”

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

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