What do you mean when you talk about boosting your immune system? Let’s take an educated guess at some of the answers:
- Make changes to your eating habits
- Exercise daily and stay active
- Maintain regular sleep patterns
- Wash your hands often
- Perhaps you even include answers pertaining to supplements, alternative treatments like acupuncture, and fasting
How many of you would focus on your emotions and your psychological well-being?
Some of the big emotional stressors that impact our emotional health:
- Loss of job/switching careers
- Going to University or career training
- Financial hardship
- Marriage/moving in together
- Starting a family
- Starting a new relationship
- Relationship stresses or abuse
- Workplace stresses or abuse
- Separation or divorce
- Death of a loved one
- Change of any kind contributes to some level of stress, even good changes
- Or just dashed expectations of self and what you had hoped was possible
Any or all of these usually cause anxiety and stress. In turn, our body responds and reacts. How extreme that reaction varies widely but it is not something to ever take likely. At the very least, when life upsets us, we lose some psychological balance.
But there doesn’t have to be a clear and present danger to throw off our balance. If anxiety causes us to perceive a threat, our bodies cannot tell the difference. If there’s a chance of danger—real or not—our “fight or flight” response kicks in. Among other things, this means:
- Our brain diverts more blood to our muscles to facilitate a physical response
- In order to gain more energy, we experience an increase in heart rate, fats, blood pressure, and blood sugars
- Our muscles tense up, thus providing more speed and strength
- Even our blood clotting function speeds up in case we sustain a major injury
On the surface, this is a marvel of biological engineering. In everyday life, it can be quite negative. If our life is stressful and we become so anxious that we see threats everywhere, we cannot stay in this state of heightened alert. The results hurt our immune system.
6 Ways to Boost Your Immune System and Your Well-Being
Accept that your emotions play a role in your physical health. This awareness is a huge first step. Make it part of your daily or even hourly mindset.
It’s corny to talk about positive mental attitude. It’s corny but still vital. Have fun. Laugh. Seek out happy people. This is not a pollyanna cure-all but we cannot ignore the proven value of positive social interactions.
This was mentioned above but merits emphasis. You’re worth it. So why not embrace healthy habits in terms of sleep, eating, and exercise?
- Stress Management
There is a slew of relaxation techniques to choose from, e.g. Tai chi, yoga, exercise in general, infrared saunas, meditation, self-hypnosis, neurofeedback, creative expression (dance – the visual arts – music – writing), brain-gym exercises, deep breathing, EFT, TAT, massages and breathing exercises. Get into the habit of soothing yourself.
- A Sense of Purpose or Mission
We are at our best when striving to be our best. Set goals. Make lists. Get busy. Your immune system (and everyone else) will appreciate it!
- Giving to Others
Speaking of missions, this is as important as they get. Find something that moves you and then find opportunities to take regular action. Nothing can match that feeling when your efforts change someone’s life for the better. You help your immune system and theirs!
Make the Mind-Body Connection
Let’s first accept that there’s no need for a literal “connection” when two entities are part of a single whole. However, there is most definitely a need for most of us to recognize and respect this reality. Working with a counselor who is also a life-coach teaches us how to navigate the inevitable crises. In addition, when anxiety creates its own crises, your counselor/coach will help you identify the underlying causes and give you the tools and techniques that can help you successfully navigate through stresses to build your immune system and enhance your life. In today’s high-tech world, it’s almost always a challenge to maintain balance. Sometimes, the first step in addressing this is to ask for help and have a mentor or coach.