Boost Your Immune System by Practising Mindfulness
It’s easy to feel the physical effects of stress when life throws you off course. Stress can lead to restlessness, lack of sleep, poor diet and anxiety, all of which can have serious implications on your health. In fact, stress can have a number of negative impacts directly on the immune system.
Stress caused by brief pressures (such as exams or looming deadlines) can suppress the part of the immune system responsible for killing and breaking down invading bacteria or viruses, while chronic stress (such as workplace or family pressures) can actually suppress the entire immune system. This increases the cortisol levels in your system, which makes you not only more susceptible to becoming sick, but also more likely to make others sick.
Practising mindfulness is a simple and effective way to combat stress. Being more mindful has a number of positive effects directly on the immune system, including reducing inflammation symptoms and stress hormones, and has also been shown to improve activity in the areas of the brain responsible for co-ordinating the immune system.
Incorporating mindfulness into your lifestyle can also help to minimize the occurrence, length and severity of the common cold or the flu. The best part is that mindfulness can be easily included in your daily routine by simply paying attention to your breathing, tuning into your body’s physical sensations and practising mindful meditation.
To help me manage stress better and find my inner balance, I also rely on a few easy-to-find natural health products, including:
Valerian: Commonly used for its anxiety-reducing and sedative effects, this root is available as an herbal tea and supplement.
Omega-3s: Supplementing with fish oil, rich in omega-3s, has been shown to reduce stress symptoms.
Probiotics: A large volume of evidence supports the view that the immune system is a key communication pathway between the gut and brain, which plays an important role in stress-related behaviours. The microbial content of the gut plays a key role in immune development.
To find a local CHFA Member health food store to explore safe, effective and high-quality natural health products, click here.