Set peace of mind as your highest goal and organise your life around it
~Brian Tracy, Bestselling Author
All major medical bodies and authorities have come to the conclusion that coronavirus is particularly dangerous for those with weakened immunity. A major step to strengthen our immune system, that all of us are aware of, is to eat a balanced, nutritious diet. But there’s another significant factor that is not given sufficient attention – stress.
When we experience stress, our bodies release a hormone called cortisol. Various studies have conclusively proven that ordinarily Cortisol has an anti-inflammatory effect which boosts the immune system. But chronic stress i.e. stress experienced continuously for an extended period of time is very problematic. Chronic stress leads to a constant release of cortisol which makes the immune system resistant and thus weakens it. The current circumstances are a breeding ground for chronic stress. So how can we prevent it? Here’s how:
Exercising is an excellent stress buster. Physical exercise makes the body release a set of hormones called endorphins into the brain and nervous system.
Endorphins also have anti-inflammatory effects, and give a boost to your mood, among other things, thus reducing stress. Sure, there’s a lockdown in place. But you don’t need to go outdoors to exercise. Skipping, crunches, body weight exercises can easily be done indoors without the need of any specialised equipment.
2. Avoid Sugar
Cortisol is also responsible for helping manage blood sugar levels. When we consume sugar, it further increases the amount of cortisol released, thus compromising the immune system, and also having the effect of increasing the stress levels experienced. Additionally, if you’ve been suffering from anxiety given the current circumstances, sugar will only worsen it, as has been demonstrated by various studies
So try to avoid consuming foods with added sugar such as pastries, soft drinks, biscuits, etc. as they’re probably worsening your stress levels and reducing your immunity.
Our brains, our emotions and our facial expressions are all interconnected. When we’re stressed, the facial muscles carry that tension resulting in that “stressed look”. But the reverse is also true. When we smile or laugh, we force the facial muscles to release that tension which in turn reduces stress and boosts the immune system.
So watch that latest stand-up comedy special on Netflix, or that favourite sitcom of yours, or cat videos, anything that would make you laugh or smile
4. Mindfulness & Meditation
Mindfulness and meditation are an excellent way to destress and improve focus. Much like how smiling and laughing can relieve stress by releasing tension from the facial muscles, a deep muscle relaxation mindfulness exercise called Progressive Muscle Relaxation aka PMR, can help you release it from the whole body, thus relieving you of stress and boosting your immunity.
Click here for a companion guide to practice PMR with (Listen with headphones for best experience)
5. Talk it Out
Studies show that talking to and sharing with someone who genuinely understands your emotions as well as how you react to them, has a major effect in terms of stress relief.
So, got something that’s stressing you out? Share it with a friend or loved one. But it’s important it’s with someone who understands you. If that is not the case, then they might have an additive effect on the stress you’re already experiencing. In this case, a better alternative is to speak with an Expert.
Who would’ve thought that stress relief could also boost your immune system eh?
Are you looking for more personalised tweaks to these techniques? Wanted to explore the plethora of other very effective stress management techniques? YourDOST is here for you. Connect with a YourDOST Expert today.