Stress is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to getting sick. Lifestyle health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease are on top of the ladder when it comes to statistics of ill health. Stress, however, can be a complex issue that doesn’t always have an easy solution, so we need to learn strategies to calm our body and mind.
Modern lifestyles and the complexity of our jobs, juggling the demands of work, home, relationships, and pressures during the festive season impact our coping ability to deal with stress. Our body takes that strain, but long-term exposure to stress is detrimental to immunity and other organs in the body. We must take time for ourselves, build healthier routines, learn how to respond to stressful situations, as exposure to long term chronic oxidative stress is detrimental to our health. Taking time for you is not selfish; it’s necessary so that you can continue to positively support your family and work.
So, what can we do? Become aware of how stress plays a detrimental or positive role in our life, when you notice imbalance, don’t wait; experiment see what works for you. It is fun to try new things.
Meditation, yoga and mindfulness, slow deep breathing are some of the tools. Mindfulness practice is the ability to stay in the present moment, learn to notice, feel sensations, get in tune with your body.
Less mental stress also means less physical stress and gives more power to your immune system. A 2004 study at the University of Wisconsin, Maddison USA, led by Richard Davidson and his team of researchers, found that mindfulness and meditation provides lasting positive changes in the brain and the immune system.
Another study from 2016, by David Black and George Slavitch, reviewed 1600 participants and showed daily mindfulness and medication have a positive impact on our ageing process, and appears to be associated with reductions in pro-inflammatory processes, increases in cell-mediated defence parameters, and increased enzyme activity that guards against cell ageing. They found the immune cell telomerase responded positively; they recorded higher telomeres activity, which indicates that the practice of medication and mindfulness impacts positively on our biological ageing process.
Yoga is not only a great way to move the body, but it also has some known benefits to our immunity. Try the Cobra pose for three deep breaths to stimulate the thymus for the growth of T-cells. The legs up the wall position can also help the body relax by encouraging blood circulation, lymph drainage, relaxation and resetting the nervous system.
Downward facing dog and the plank stimulate the four main physiological systems: the circulatory, digestive, nervous, and endocrine systems. These communicate and support the working of our immune system, and helps to clear congestion and sinuses to drain.
Give yourself a space to unwind, relax, create movement in your life during this festive season and ultimately this will help your body and organs to stay healthy.