Are you feeling stressed today? Perhaps a bit anxious or overwhelmed? You’re hardly alone. In fact, you’re part of the eight out of 10 American adults who report that they regularly feel stressed. But being stressed is far more than just your emotions and mood. In fact, chronic stress has significant impacts on your health and wellness, and it’s especially important to understand the harmful effects of stress on your immune system.
3 Examples of the Harmful Effects of Stress
Harmful Effects of Stress #1: It Kills Brain Cells
While you may not realize it, your brain is a core part of your immune system.
In fact, chemical signals connect your brain to your immune system, and your brain helps regulate your immune system’s responses to bacteria, viruses and other threats.
Thus, brain health is foundational for immune health. And researchers have defined exactly how bad stress is for your brain health.
Harmful Effects of Stress #2: It Compromises Your Immune System
When you’re stressed, your body experiences elevated levels of the hormone cortisol. Over time, warns researchers, chronically high amounts of cortisol can weaken your immune system and kill the cells your immune system needs to respond to infections.
Harmful Effects of Stress #3: It Triggers Secondary Health Problems That Impact Your Immunity
Chronic stress also leads to other health problems and conditions that can weaken your immune system. These conditions include:
- High blood pressure
- Poor cardiovascular health
- And more
Thankfully, there are several ways you can better manage your stress levels, reduce the harmful effects of stress, and help boost your immunity.
Reduce Stress by Being More Aware of Your Progression Through the Stages of Stress
When you encounter a stressful situation, your body progresses through several distinct stages of stress. When you learn how to recognize the symptoms of each stage, you can be more proactive and get ahead of the problem to reduce your stress and help support a healthier immune system.
The first, and most important stage to recognize, is the fight-or-flight response.
Your body evolved to respond to danger instantaneously and automatically. When your prehistoric ancestors ran into a threat, such as a ravenous saber-tooth tiger, they needed to be ready to immediately jump into action. This created the fight-or-flight response in your central nervous system today.
Fight-or-flight symptoms and side effects include:
- Hot, red skin
- Sweating or clammy skin
- An increased pulse
- An increased breathing rate
There’s just one tiny issue: Most of our stress today isn’t an actual physical threat. Instead, we’re stressed about traffic or late-night emails or a social event. However, your brain doesn’t know the difference. It responds to that person cutting you off while you’re driving in the same fashion as your prehistoric ancestor dodging a hungry prehistoric mammal.
If your threat is mental and not physical, your response to this stage of stress must likewise be mental and not physical.
Positive psychology, and specifically reframing the stressful situation in a more positive way, is effective. Challenge the stressful thought by asking yourself probing questions, repeating the facts of the matter to yourself, and looking at the stressful scenario through the simple lens of reality and not all of the what-ifs and maybes that tend to stress us out.
If you’re able to recognize when you’re entering stage one and deal with it immediately, you can help break the stress cycle.
The other stages are:
- Stage 2: Your body’s return to balance and calm (also known as homeostasis). At this stage, the most helpful approach is exercise, yoga and similar forms of physical movement.
- Stage 3: Recovery. When you’ve returned to homeostasis, you’ll likely feel fatigued. Your best response to managing this final stress response stage is relaxation and rest.
No matter what stage of stress you’re in, your immune system needs additional support. Regular periods of stress weaken your immune system and leaves you more susceptible to illness and disease. Boost your immune system today with BioPro-Plus 500. This unique combination of five thymic proteins, which are bioidentical to the proteins that your body naturally produces, helps to “train” your immune system and create a better immune response. It’s the perfect complement to your stress management techniques.
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