Living with stress and fears can have the effect of decreasing your immunity.
So, reducing our stress and fear is especially as we experience this pandemic. I thought I would describe why stress and fear can have such an impact on us physically.
Simply described, we have two parts of our brain, perhaps you would have heard them referred to as hemispheres? These parts can be described as the ‘intellect’ and ‘emotional’ parts of the brain. The bit in the middle, is like the central processing unit (CPU) of a computer, it is constantly on the look out for danger. This is the way, we are wired or evolved, constantly keeping an eye out for danger.
The CPU is constantly pulsating and looking for danger and the need to fight, to run away (flight) or to freeze.
‘Fight’ – can be either verbally or physically. We probably all remember a time when we have ‘fought’ ourselves out of a situation.
Flight – is when we literally run away from the ‘danger’ or situation.
Freeze – is when we curl up in a ball and don’t respond. This happens especially when we are unwell or under threat.
To prepare us in any of those situations, the central part of the brain pumps adrenalin and cortisol around out system. In today’s society, we can constantly feel under threat and especially with the uncertainty and fear around coronavirus.
When we do need to fight, or run away or freeze, the body reacts by secreting adrenalin and cortisol to support us in the response needed. Blood is directed from the bod’s organs to the extremities. We often feel the need to dispose of any waste in the body, so we are physically lighter, more nimble and ready to respond in whichever way we need to.
Right now, with all that is going on, by watching the news on a constant feed, your “CPU” may feel that it is constantly having to be ready to fight, to flight or to freeze, constantly under threat.
Overtime, with your body being in a constant state of response, your immune system will weaken. Constantly pumping cortisol and adrenalin around your system will deplete our immune system.
Consequently, reducing our stress, fear and worry will be beneficial for your immune system. We can do this by making simple changes like:
- Reducing your exposure to the news;
- Taking time to meditate or to be mindful at set times throughout the day;
- Exercising regularly;
- Getting a good night’s sleep;
- Eating well;
- Keeping ourselves hydrated and
- Maintain a regular daily routine.