Scientists once believed that the mind and the body were separate, that one didn’t influence the other. Today we know that isn’t the case. Your stress levels and general mental state can have profound effects on the efficacy of your immune system.
Your immune system is more than just a defense against illnesses. It’s also how you fight off infections and keep illness at bay so it doesn’t come back again.
Your immune system also deals with cancerous cells daily. 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:
- 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.
- Prolonged stress keeps the immune system in a compromised state, which increases the likelihood of getting sick.
- 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. You are never too busy to enjoy time with other people. You’ll find that you have a lot more interests and talents in common, which will also increase your confidence.
- Listening to relaxing music or getting a massage is also beneficial. Anything relaxing, without being harmful, seems to positively impact immune function.
- Make a list of the activities that you find relaxing. Try to do a few of the items on your list each day. The items you can do in your car and at work will be important for staying productive.
- 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.
- 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! Spending time with others is good for your health and can help ease anxiety.
- 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.
- Use positive affirmations to enhance your mood. Positive thoughts lead to positive feelings. Repeat positive affirmations regularly, especially during periods of stress. Keep your mind occupied with something positive. Make a list of positive affirmations that resonate with you.
- Be successful. Experience success by setting goals you can reach. Big, audacious goals are great, but be sure to have a few easier goals. Be happy with your small successes. Your immune system will reward you, too.
- 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 advantage of it and stay calm.
- Be happy! What makes you happy? Figure it out and spend more time doing it. 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.