I will never forget sitting on the opposite side of the doctor’s desk, him hunched over scribbling briefly on a piece of paper, only to hand me a prescription for hot yoga and no stress. A written prescription for a stress-free life? Well, I took him a little too seriously. Quit my job, let needy relationships behind and moved to the beach.
But you know what? His advice was on point. Every symptom I had of chronic stress – fatigue, brain fog, no immune system, sleepiness, even depression – was remedied by removing the instigators of stress in my life.
While not everyone wants to take such drastic measures to reduce the stress in their lives, it’s important to understand how stress affects the immune system and overall health. If it is available in any capacity, it’s equally important to take steps toward softening the stress factors we face to improve our quality of life.
How does stress affect the immune system?
As we learned in Yuval Noah Harari’s mind-blowing novel, Sapiens, we humans climbed the food chain latter so quickly that our fight or flight response does not presently match our unfathomably safe and comfortable reality of daily life, where we have no real predators.
This biological juxtaposition leaves our bodies producing stress signals when faced with something like finishing a proposal on time. If our ancestors were watching, they’d be curled over laughing because their bodies used this stress signal in response to physical threats, such as being attacked by a bear.
What is the stress signal?
When an external event causes us to internalize the idea that we cannot manage what is happening, our bodies release a hormone called cortisol to give us a boost of willpower and clarity to survive the situation. Cortisol pumps up our adrenaline and readies us for a big confrontation or fight.
But this hormone was designed to confront a bear attack, so it often leaves us flooded in adrenaline post-situation because, in fact, we did not go to physical combat with a work deadline or in the declining of a social invitation. We probably did not really need the extra boost of energy.
When the body has too much cortisol, inflammation increases and white blood cells (our infection fighters) decrease. White blood cells fight against antigens and other harmful invaders; without enough of them, we lose our natural defense system. Without a proper defense system, our body is vulnerable to common colds, viruses, and other more seriously dangerous illnesses.
Common symptoms of chronic inflammation caused by stress
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Reduced white blood cells
- Susceptibility to infection
- Tissue damage
- Heart disease
- Fast heart rate
- Type 2 diabetes
- Gastric ulcers
- Sleep problems
How to combat chronic stress?
Practicing meditation, yoga, a healthy diet and healthy relationships can help reduce the chronic stress inside.
Be mindful of your external and internal surroundings. While deadlines and toxic relationships are obvious stressors, eating foods that your body is not optimized to digest can cause just as much stress from the inside.
Learn more about maintaining your optimal health and ways to reduce the chronic stress that affects the immune system with A.M.P Floracel aloe vera supplements and products. Reach out to our team to find out how our products can help improve your health in general. We look forward to hearing from you!