10 Ways Your State of Mind Affects Your Immune System
The mind and the body are inseparable. What happens to one affects the other. There is a burgeoning body of research proving this is true. This notion is contrary to what scientists used to think. Your immune system is not affected just those pesky little microbes. Stress and how you are mentally has a tremendous impact upon how you fight off illness.
A strong immune system will fight off those first cancer cells, the flu and many other illnesses. When it’s what is called flu season you want to be sure your immune system is strong. You can’t always control who you encounter who is ill. The state of your mind, however, is something you can control.
Enhance your outlook and boost your immune system:
Stress increases the level of cortisol in the body which weakens the immune system. Cortisol is great when you have a need to run for your life. The problem comes when you are under continual stress. It becomes harmful rather than helpful. When you are running for your life cortisol gives your immune system the signal it (immune system) isn’t needed. All the energy of your body is directed to running.
Stress keeps the cortisol going, which signals the immune system it’s not needed. This weakens the most powerful immune system thereby inviting illnesses.
Stress has been proven to increase the possibility of having auto-immune illnesses such as arthritis, psoriasis, eczema, asthma and lupus. The suspicion by those working in the field of psychoneuroimmunology is that stress is responsible for more physical problems than we can currently imagine.
Stress Busting, Immune Enhancing Tips
1. Have fun and socialize with others.
Laughing and enjoying yourself decreases stress and enhances your immune system for hours. Connecting with others is a powerful way to strengthen your immune system a well helping you feel connected to others.
2. A massage and good music in your ears could be very helpful too.
The immune system reacts positively to anything relaxing, anything harmless. Massage relaxes the muscles and releases tension. The stress is literally rubbed from your body. Enjoyable music has a positive effect upon the brain. It helps integrate the brain so it’s various parts work together in harmony.
3. Make a list of fun things you could do, then plan on doing them.
Don’t forget things you can do in the car (music, audio books) and at work (stretching, deep breathing). Choose one or two to do daily… and rotate them for variety.
Read the funny papers, watch funny TV shows or movies, read jokes on the internet, be around funny people who make you laugh daily. Find something that makes you laugh out loud when you’re alone. Then you’ll know you’ve found a good immune enhancer.
5. Be grateful.
In addition to changing your mindset, appreciating the good things in your life will make your mood better and help you fight disease. I suggest having a “file cabinet” in your mind where you store the events and people who fill you with joy. Remind yourself of those you love and who love you as well as the high points of your life. Do this especially when you are having a difficult day.
6. Positive Self-Talk.
Have you noticed how important I believe this is? Be positive in how you talk to yourself. If I say, “You can do it, Cathy,” I’m boosting me. If I focus on how clumsy I am, I knock myself down. Use positive affirmations to enhance your mood. Write out positive statements that are important to you. Feel those statements. See those statements being true for you.
7. Set realistic goals.
If you’re out of shape you don’t want to say you’re going to run a marathon next month. You can, however, set a daily training goal which will get you to your goal but not discourage you or harm your body.
8. Be patient with yourself and others.
Impatience brings about stress. Breathe deeply to calm yourself. Bring something with you to read if you know you’re going to have to wait in line. Use waiting time to make up stories and if you’ve followed us this far, by now, you know what that does. Stay calm in all situations as doing otherwise most times doesn’t change anything.
9. Do things that make you happy.
Research has shown that dancing (even if you don’t do it well), singing (even if you are off-key as I am), sports and walking has a positive effect upon your brain and your mood. These activities will improve your health because you feel better emotionally.
10. Engage in self-healing.
Past wounds can bring you down. When you keep rehashing what happened you get right back into those painful feelings. Heal and let them go. Make room for joy in your life.
Mood and mindset have a direct effect upon your immune system. Positive thoughts, happiness, and feelings of accomplishment boost your immune system. Make it a daily habit to do something positive for yourself.
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