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What Stress Does Does To Your Immune System

Feb 26, 2024 | Blog, Lifestyle

stressed man at work

Stress is a normal part of modern daily life, but most people are not aware of the negative consequences of stress on their health—until it is too late.  It’s no big deal, right? WRONG!

 

Understanding the impact on overall health.  

 

Some people are able to cope with stress better than others, while others take practical steps to reduce their stress each day to diminish its wear and tear on their bodies and minds.

 

However, most of us are not aware of how much stress is harming our health until we are diagnosed with a serious illness like heart disease.  Then we’re told we need to make drastic changes to our lifestyle if we want to live longer.

 

So what exactly is stress?

 

Stress is the body and mind’s response to any unusual event or situation that challenges us and makes us feel under pressure in some way. Stress provides the body with a burst of energy in the form of adrenaline, the “fight or flight” response that is part of human nature.

 

So people either run away from the thing that stresses them, or they turn and try to deal with it in a variety of ways, some of which will be more successful than others. Our life is stressful from the moment we are born. There is the stress of birth, of feeling hunger and needing our diaper changed.

 

Life’s Journey

 

At school, there is the stress of performing well during exams, in presentations in front of the class, the school play, or on the school sports team. In our college years, there may be stresses related to maintaining a good GPA, of getting a scholarship or gaining acceptance into grad school.

 

Then there are social stresses– dating, relationships, friendships, peer pressure, etc. As adults, there is job related stress, financial stress, family stress.  Adult life is full of demands and obligations which need to be met, which can often be very overwhelming and stressful.

 

Even happy occasions such as a new job, wedding, baby or a move can trigger stress in the body. Most of us work very hard and “burn the candle at both ends” to try to keep up with all the demands on our time every day. This can lead to a lack of sleep and “downtime” or relaxation to help recharge the body and mind. The lack of rest and downtime can, in turn, lead to a weakened immune system.

 

A lack of sleep has been shown to have the same effects on the immune system as stress. Stress can also interfere with one’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. This can then create a vicious cycle of even more it from sleep deprivation, which can leave your immune system vulnerable and open to attack.

 

Taking Control: Managing Stress for Optimal Health

 

If you’ve been acting like a workaholic, not getting enough sleep, and not taking time out for relaxation, it’s time to get your stress under control.

 

Above all, you need to avoid burning out and damaging your immune system so much that it triggers excessive inflammation. Inflammation has been implicated in many medical conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes and certain forms of cancer.  In fact, chronic disease that develop after the age of 42 have inflammation in common as one of the root causes.

 

There are many ways to reduce stress effectively, from yoga to meditation, tai chi to a warm, relaxing bath, a good night’s sleep to spending quality time with friends and family.

 

If you have been overworking, it’s time to make some new appointments on your calendar with yourself in order to reduce it, add exercise and sleep to your daily routine, and care better for yourself.  Also put down your phone and connect with your family and friends.  Your immune system will thank you and you my friend are worth it. 

 

If you’re tired of living on a merry-go-round with your health and want a proactive approach to health and wellness instead of a reactive approach to sickness reach out.  We love to help people find optimal health and create lives they truly love.  

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