How Stress Can Affect Your Immune System And How You Can Keep It Under Control

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for you. It is understandable that you may feel fear and anxiety about what is happening and it can be overwhelming at times.

Stress and anxiety are common experiences for most people especially during times where you feel threatened or things seem to be spinning out of control. But did you know that when you're stressed, the amount of white blood cells that help fight off infection in our body also decreases? And the lower your lymphocyte level, the more at risk you are for viruses, including the common cold and flu. Stress can also trigger you to use unhealthy behavioural coping strategies such as drinking and smoking, therefore having an indirect effect on your health overall.

In other words, when you are stressed, your immune system’s ability to fight off toxins in your body is reduced, making you more susceptible to infections and illnesses. But fret not, you can learn to fight stress with these simple tips: 

Keep a positive attitude.

Since your thoughts and feelings determine your actions, you will tend to be more constructive in dealing with anything if you keep a positive outlook in life. Having a positive attitude will also make you start being more motivated and conscious in taking good care of yourself and treating your body right.

 

Exercise and meditate.

Meditation allows you to improve your willpower skills, including attention, focus, stress management, impulse control and self-awareness. And meditating prior to a workout allows you to relax and remove distraction which then help you to get more out of your workout. 

Exercises or any physical activities bump up the production of your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins, chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve your ability to sleep, which brings us to the next tip...

Get enough rest and sleep.

Stress and sleep have a two-way relationship. High stress levels can make sleeping more difficult. They can even lead to sleep disorders. A good night's sleep of 7-9 hours per night makes you able to tackle the day's stress more easily. Monitoring your sleep and practicing good sleeping patterns along with stress-lowering tactics can help improve your overall well-being and health.

Accept that there are events that you cannot control.

In reality, there are many things in life you have zero control over. When this happens, instead of focusing on the things you can’t control, have a look at your attitude and your reaction over them. When you put your energy into what you can feel and do to improve your situation, anything that looks and feels daunting will seem to be easier to tackle, one step at a time.

Talk to someone.

When you have a good support network of family, friends or colleagues, you will realize that you are not alone. You may find that many other people share your feelings and concerns. And they may help you know your options or solutions you haven't thought of before or help you see things in a different way. Having someone, even just to listen, may also ease your troubles or release your built-up tension which can help you to gain new insight into the situation that is causing you the problem or stress. 

 

We hope you find some of these tips helpful. The key is finding what works for you, and make it a practice. Remember, keeping on top of your mental health is also keeping your physical health in tip-top shape. Stay healthy, keep your life in balance and stress-free!

 

 

Sources:
https://www.healthline.com/
https://www.mayoclinic.org/
https://www.webmd.com/

 


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