Boost your immune system with mindfulness
It’s easy to feel the physical effects of stress when life throws you off course. Stress can lead to restlessness, lack of sleep, poor diet, and anxiety — all of which can have serious implications on your health and immune system.
Stress caused by brief pressures (such as exams or looming deadlines) can suppress the part of the immune system responsible for killing and breaking down invading bacteria or viruses, while chronic stress (such as workplace or family pressures) can actually suppress the entire immune system. This increases the cortisol levels in your system, making you more susceptible to becoming sick and passing it on to others.
Mindfulness is a simple and effective way to combat stress. You can easily include the practice in your daily routine by simply paying attention to your breathing, tuning into your body’s physical sensations and taking a few minutes for meditation.
Being more mindful creates many positive effects directly on the immune system, including reducing inflammation symptoms and stress hormones. It also improves activity in the areas of the brain responsible for coordinating the immune system. Incorporating mindfulness into your lifestyle has the added benefit of minimizing the occurrence, length and severity of the common cold and flu.
To help manage stress better and find inner balance, you can also try a few easy-to-find natural health products, including:
Valerian: Commonly used for its anxiety-reducing and sedative effects, this root is available as an herbal tea and supplement.
Omega-3s: Supplementing with fish oil rich in omega-3s has been shown to reduce stress symptoms.
Probiotics: Evidence shows that the immune system is a key communication pathway between the gut and brain, which plays an important role in stress-related behaviours. The microbial content of the gut plays a key role in immunity, and can be supported with probiotics.
Learn more and find a local CHFA Member health food store online at chfa.ca.