In a pandemic, keeping our immune system strong is of utmost importance, as it protects you from diseases and harmful toxins.
Many factors contribute to a healthy immune system, including eating healthy foods and getting enough rest. There are, however, several habits that may weaken your immune system.
Psychology and The Immune System
Some people underestimate the impact of psychology on our immune system. Naturally, your cells travel throughout your body and shield you from potential threats.
Throughout the day, you have up to 80,000 thoughts, many of them could be negative. When your body is overcome with stress or fear, your cells’ defenses begin diminishing, making you susceptible to disease. Knowing this, you must make an effort to balance these thoughts to remain healthy.
Cortisol and Immune Health
Cortisol is the hormone associated with stress levels. Because your brain cannot tell the difference between perception and reality, constant negative thought patterns contribute to spiked cortisol levels. When left unchecked, you actually increase your vulnerability to contracting a disease. Once you’ve contracted a disease, it creates a cycle of raised cortisol levels until your immune system eventually shuts down.
Often, people are oblivious to their thought patterns. Your brain doesn’t automatically eradicate negative thoughts. Instead, your brain prepares you for any perceived danger. For instance, if you are afraid of clowns, your cortisol levels rise, even if they don’t pose a threat. When your cortisol levels fluctuate over minor things, your immune system has to work harder to lower them.
This becomes problematic in emergency situations. When you’re exposed to a virus, your immune system isn’t as effective, making it challenging to combat your illness. This can cause healthy bone and muscle breakdowns, poor digestion, slower metabolism, and even weaker mental function. In severe cases, compromised immune health can result in death.
Controlling Emotions for a Stronger Immune System
An effective way to repair your immune system is to intentionally think of positive thoughts. When stressful situations arise, be sure to do your best to remain calm.
For instance, when your anxiety triggers come up, pause for a moment. This allows you to disengage and even examine the situation from a third-person perspective. That way, you’re not judging yourself or irrationally responding to your stress or fear.
Taking a few breaths as you analyze the potential threat helps you with discernment, empowering you to make healthier emotional choices.
Another useful emotional tool is focusing on your surroundings. When you feel afraid or anxious, take a look around, and find pleasing things to observe. This gives your brain time to calm down and focus on positivity. As you breathe deeply, observe, smells, noises, and admire the sights. Do your best to stay in the moment for as long as it takes to calm down.
Children and ELS
If you’re a parent, taking control of your emotions is even more important. Children exposed to high levels of stress develop ELS or early life stress.
Kids with ELS experience weaker immune health, making it even harder for their developing immune systems to combat illness. Additionally, children in stressful households often take on the emotions and stress of their parents. Keep this in mind and set healthy emotional health standards for you and your children.
Unhealthy Emotional Coping Mechanisms
Stressful situations can also create unhealthy emotional coping mechanisms. For instance, stress eating can be detrimental to both your immune and overall health. Binging on ice cream and chocolate may feel good, but these foods interrupt with immune cells for hours at a time.
Overindulging in sweets also leads to obesity. Because Of this, sugary foods should be eaten in moderation. Vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables are essential for a healthy immune system as well as raw garlic.
Everyone experiences anxiety. If you feel yourself stressed out often, reach out to someone rather than isolating yourself. People who experience healthy interactions typically have stronger immune systems than loners.
Taking care of your emotional state is just as important as your immune health. In these trying times, be sure to eat healthy, get enough sleep, and stay in tuned with your emotional responses to stress. Reach out to a loved one or focus on positive thoughts and things around you. All these could help keep stress at bay.
Healthy cortisol levels strengthen your immune system to fight the bigger battles, like keeping you safe from bacteria and illness. If you’re experiencing any symptoms, be sure to contact your healthcare provider.