Scientific research is showing us how our mind and body affect our immune system. 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.
What Affects Your Mind & Body Have on Your Immune System
Cortisol and your 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 several hours afterward. Get out and enjoy time with other people.
Listening to relaxing music is also beneficial. Anything relaxing that manages your stress has a positive impact on immune function. Make a list of the activities that you find relaxing. Bring those into your every day; make your favorite playlist and listen to it in the car or morning or night time playlist to begin and end your day. Spotify has numerous playlists that I listen to at different times of the day!
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! You’ll get the benefit of positive social interaction and laughter.
PS. Keeping your immune system nourished may also affect your longevity. Take a look at this research paper titled, Stress, Age, and Immune Function: Toward a Lifespan Approach
Pubmed Research Based Articles