Scientists once believed the mind and the body were separate, that one didn’t influence the other. Today we know that isn’t the case. Your perception of your stress levels and general mental state can have profound effects on the efficacy of your immune system. Your immune system doesn’t just deal with illnesses like the flu or the common cold.
Your immune system also deals with cancerous cells on a daily basis. Many otherwise healthy older people die of pneumonia due to a less effective immune system. Your immune system can affect your longevity.
Enhance your outlook and boost your immune system:
1. Cortisol is an enemy of the immune system. During times of stress, the level of cortisol rises in the body. The body recognizes this increase as an indicator of the fight or flight response and responds by limiting other body functions, including the immune system.
Understanding the fight or flight response in today’s world is single biggest thing you can learn for your health.
Prolonged stress keeps the immune system in a compromised state, which increases the likelihood of getting sick.
2. Positive social interaction has the opposite effect. Enjoying time with others has been shown to lower stress hormones and boost immune activity for several hours afterward. Get out and enjoy time with other people.
3. Listening to relaxing music or getting a massage is also beneficial. Make one of these a healthy habit because of the positive impact on immune function. Make a list of the activities that you find relaxing. Pick three you can accomplish daily and ones you can do while commuting, listening to soothing music instead of the news.
4. Stress has also been shown to increase the risk of developing immune-based diseases. These include arthritis, psoriasis, eczema, asthma, and lupus. In time, it’s believed that science will show that many other diseases are influenced by stress.
5. Laughter has a powerful impact on immune function. Record the shows that make you laugh and try to watch one each day. Read a few jokes from a book or online during your breaks at work. Spend time with funny people! You’ll get the benefit of positive social interaction and laughter.
6. Practice gratitude. Giving yourself a little reminder of the great things in your life will boost your mood and your ability to fight disease. This is a quick exercise that can turn your mindset around quickly.
7. Use positive affirmations to enhance your mood. Positive thoughts lead to positive feelings. Repeat positive affirmations on a regular basis, especially during periods of stress. Keep your mind occupied with something positive. Make a list of positive affirmations that resonate with you. Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer are my favorite sources for these.
8. Be successful. Experience success by setting goals you can reach. Big, audacious goals are great, but be sure to have a few easier goals, too. Daily, measurable goals reward us in many ways, you get closer to your big goal and continue building on small success. Your immune system will reward you, too.
9. Exercise patience. Impatience creates stress. Relax and make good use of the extra time. The time will pass regardless of how you spend it. Take the time to stare out a window instead of reaching for your phone. Reaching for our phone is a complete topic on its own.
10. Be happy! What makes you happy? If you are not sure try knitting and move around hobbies until it resonates with you. Read, knit, dance, meditate, grill outdoors, go on a picnic. These aren’t frivolous things. They make life enjoyable and keep you healthy.
Avoid underestimating the impact your mood and mindset can have on your immune system. Optimism, happiness, fun, love, and success keep your immune system in good working order. Scientists are only beginning to understand the impact of psychology on physiology. Being happy and positive doesn’t just feel good, but it also strengthens your health.