Minimizing the Effects of Stress
Ignoring the stressor, hoping it will go away simply does not work. Don’t wait until you start to see visible effects of stress in the form of frown lines, rashes or bumps! The best way to minimize the effects of stress and improve our immunity is to take measures to change how we respond to it.
Left unchecked, the inflammation caused by chronic stress can cause a host of immune-related diseases such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, and psoriasis.
Ways to Manage Stress
Here are some great tools to help reduce our reactions to stress, minimize its negative effects, and help improve our immunity. The best stress reduction strategies allow you to put your worries on a shelf and give your brain a reprieve. If one of these doesn’t work, try the next one.
- Meditation – Not sure how or where to start? Apps can help guide you and with just ten to fifteen minutes three or four days a week your stress will abate as will your inflammation and cortisol levels. Give yourself permission to allow your mind to wander – mindfulness takes practice. An added documented benefit of meditation is that it prevents the breakdown of chromosomes that incur premature aging and cancer
- Yoga – deep breathing and inverted pose in yoga help boost your ability to ward off infection and eliminate toxins through the movement of lymph, respectively. In all, yoga will reduce the number of stress hormones circulating in your blood and soothe your nervous system.
- Move Your Body – Exercise your right to find the type of movement that suits you! Whether that’s walking, dancing or more vigorous workouts. Work up to moving three to five times a week for at least thirty minutes to get your blood flowing, reduce stress levels and give your immune system a boost.
- Pay attention to and find something to appreciate in the world around you. While taking a walk listen to the sounds of birds or wind blowing through the leaves of a tree, see the color of the sky, and literally smell the flowers. Hint: Some people consider this meditation too.
- Connect – Call a friend or write a note to someone you haven’t talked to in a long time.
- Read a book – Try fiction to escape and relax or nonfiction to learn and grow.
- Take a warm bath with calming lavender essential oil.
- Try a Hobby – Tackling a craft project or cultivating a garden can improve self-esteem and take your mind off what ails you.
It may seem that you don’t have time to try these different stress reduction techniques, but when you consider that long term stress has been linked to other health problems such as cancer, diabetes (type 2), gastric ulcers, fast heart rate, heart disease and impaired mental functioning, you don’t have time not to.
Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic March 1, 2017 / Rheumatology & Immunology What Happens When Your Immune System Gets Stressed Out?