Stress and Immune System. Which one is stronger? Stress is a part of our life. Unfortunately, it is.
And if only stress interfered with our lives and lowered our immune defenses.
We may experience various symptoms, but when we are stressed, we either neglect them or mistake them for something insignificant.
It can go on like this for as long as the immune system is able to protect us. Here is a list of questions that are guaranteed to help you understand your symptoms and get medical advice on what to do next (questionnaire online).
There is no denying that people, in general, are more stressed now than they were a few years ago. Each of us is living faster and more stressful lives. Although these realities are not easy to avoid, we can take steps to control and reduce stress naturally. We know that there is a direct link between stress levels and immune system health.
Simply put, increased and constant chronic stress is bad for our immune system. When stress levels are constantly high, the body is unable to function properly, which negatively affects the immune system and increases the risk of disease. There are a number of diseases such as shingles, migraines, digestive problems, and hypertension that flare up or worsen with stress. The good news is that we can take daily steps to reduce our stress levels, which in turn supports our immune system and promotes overall good health.
What is stress?
The Cleveland Clinic defines stress as follows:
Stress is the body’s response to any change that requires adaptation or response. The body responds to these changes with physical, mental and emotional responses.
You may be stressed by your environment, the new sensations in your body, and your thoughts.
Even positive changes in life, such as a promotion, a good mortgage, or the birth of a child, cause stress. There are two types of stress – so-called “good” stress and “bad” stress.
Good stress: it’s stress that gives us motivation. Whether it’s going for a walk, completing a work project or any task that leaves you feeling satisfied. Good stress has got some key characteristics. Here they are:
- It does not last long. Generally, the feeling of good stress goes away after a few minutes or hours
- It motivates you to achieve a big goal or motivates you to do something
- It gives you a sense of confidence and encouragement
Bad stress: it is debilitating stress that can leave you depressed, exhausted and defeated. Bad stress or chronic stress can prevent you from doing the things you need to do in order to benefit from good stress.
For example, bad stress can prevent you from studying for the exam you need to write to finish school or make you feel so bad that you can’t do sports. Bad stress has several key characteristics:
- It lasts for a long time and can become a chronic illness
- It can prevent you from doing the things you love and spending time with friends and family
- It is exhausting, demoralizing, and depressing. It can leave you stuck, and unable to move forward
- It has serious physical and mental health consequences
How does stress affect the immune system and health?
Your immune system is constantly working to protect you from bacteria, viruses, cancer cells, and foreign bodies – all known collectively as antigens. White blood cells are the building blocks of your immune system, which work to fight off antigens. When you are stressed, a hormone called corticosteroid is released. This stress hormone suppresses the immune system by reducing the number of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell.
This makes it harder for your immune system to defend itself against antigens. In addition, the way you deal with stress can have a negative impact on the health of your immune system. Some of us respond to stress by eating junk food, skipping exercise, drinking, smoking, staying up late, and not getting enough sleep. These ways of coping with stress have their own negative impact on the immune system, making it very difficult for an already weakened immune system to defend itself against antigens and disease.
How can I reduce my stress levels without medication?
To reduce stress levels naturally, incorporate these healthy habits into your routine:
- As cliché as it may be, try to keep a thesis statement. Get out your notebook and pen and start your day by writing down your plans for the day. Prioritize your list. At the end of the day, take a few minutes to write down how your day went. IMPORTANT – If you write this information down on paper, it’s easier to ‘get it out of your head. It will help you fall asleep, have better rest and be more focused the next day;
- Take only natural supplements. Stress puts a huge strain on your immune system and can weaken gastrointestinal and cardiovascular support, which can trigger headaches, migraines, and shingles, and make you susceptible to colds and flu. Supplements are now plentiful and quality is crucial. The vast majority of vitamins and supplements are synthetically based and this is bad for the immune system. Take proven natural supplements immunomodulatory supplements (АНСС). Taking natural supplements to support immune system health can have a “top-down” effect on the rest of your body, giving you the opportunity to heal and recover (learn more);
- Recognize factors and situations that provoke stress. Admittedly, this is easier said than done. But if you can identify your situations, you have the opportunity to change your life. For example, it might mean spending less time on social media, reducing your workload, asking for extra help around the house, or avoiding relationships that can be negative;
- Move more. Get up from behind your desk and walk around the office. Open the door and breathe in a breath of fresh air. Put on your shoes and go for a walk. Simple movement helps stimulate the immune system and triggers the production of endorphins, which balance stress levels;
- Get back to nature. Research confirms that being outdoors does wonder for our mental health and immune system health. Have lunch at the nearest park. Plan a weekend camping trip with friends. Go mountain biking and birdwatching. Sit on a step at the entrance and listen to nature live;
According to AHCC Research Association (https://www.ahcc.net) and Medinstitute – Nikolenko Clinic in Cyprus (https://nikolenkoclinic.com)
Contact us if you have any questions: