New Perspectives on Stress and Protecting Your Immune System

Woman meditating

Your immune system is your body’s way to protect you from infections, whether those infections are old, or new, like COVID-19. Your immune system is built to take care of you. A few changes will help you take care of your immune system.

Stress, whether infection, emotions, pain, or poor nutrition, decreases your immune system’s ability to function well. Let’s expand that thought.

Your body reacts to stress as a threat to its survival and causes your body to quickly use its energy for survival. Your blood vessels constrict, so you bleed less if the proverbial tiger bites you. Your blood clots more easily, in case that bite happens. Your heart beats faster, so you can run faster than the tiger.

We don’t have to worry about tigers, but we still experience stress. Most any stress causes your body to respond. Responding to stress today doesn’t require fast running, or faster clotting, and those responses may not be the best for maintaining health.

Maintaining your immune system requires a great deal of energy. Your body, under stress, may send less energy to the immune system as it sends more energy to combat stress. But your body responds in the same way, whether a tiger is near, or with the emotional stress of learning that Covid-19 is spreading. Decreasing the amount of stress may help us.

Mental stress and anxiety may be effectively dealt with by meditation. One simple way to meditate is to sit quietly and focus on your breathing. You may find this 20-minute body scan meditation helpful:

Decreasing stress helps decrease the body’s responses to stress, which then helps the immune system stay at its best. Decreasing stress may also help you sleep better, which is another critical step to optimal health.

Please check in tomorrow for more ideas on how to optimize sleep.

Disclaimer: This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is being provided to you to educate you about healthy eating and lifestyles and as a self-help tool for your own use. It is not medical or psychological advice. This information is to be used at your own risk, based on your own judgment. For my full disclaimer, please go to\disclaimer

Resources for Understanding Covid-19 and How to Protect Yourself

We are experiencing a virus outbreak that is new in humans. The outbreak is challenging our lives. We may become more aware of how connected we are to each other and earth. We may learn the need to focus on protecting society (reduce collective risk) in order to protect ourselves (reduce individual risk).

Alanna Shaikh has a Master’s in public health and specializes in global health and health systems. She helps public health systems deal with severe shocks, such as Ebola and now, Covid-19. Here is a link to her recent Ted talk on Covid-19. She explains how the virus came to infect humans and how to protect ourselves. (16:46)

And here’s the reason why washing your hands is so important. Washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water is better than hand sanitizer. National Public Radio’s Science Friday’s podcast this past Friday offered some new perspectives on hand washing benefits, our health care system, and viral infections. The information on hand washing starts at 14:30.