There is more and more evidence that stress can cause diseases. A healthy immune system is very important to overall wellness.
The immune system organs consist of the lymph nodes, thymus and spleen. All 3 can influence your immunity status. There is research on immunity and the brain. How is your health? Are you as well as you think you are?
Your mind and body work together:
What your mind tells your body influences your health.
You can definitely think yourself into having an illness. You can also think your way out. The power of the positive does help. I am not saying that cancer can be eliminated by thinking positive thoughts. But prevention is the key to overall wellness; mind, body and spirit.
Prevention Strategies: The body’s immune system is the defense system against infectious disease, and the development of cancer. The immune system’s job is to destroy, eliminate and inactivate foreign substances.
If you do not learn how to strengthen your immune system as you age, you will be open to many diseases and cancer. If you do not learn how to control the stress in your life, you will eventually get sick.
So What is Next? How do we prevent ourselves from getting sick?
At this point, I always ask myself: “Am I doing the same thing, expecting different results?”
“Do I have anything in my life that I can look at that is close to this problem?” Not really.
I am always trying new stress reduction techniques! I walk, jog, go to a gym, ride my bike for miles, do yoga, meditate (on occassion, this one is touch for me!). I guess I could try relaxing more.
I am hoping in the long run trying out different stress-less activities will help me stay healthy longer.
Who can predict?
The best things to do: practice good health techniques that include stress reduction, exercise daily and eat right. Have friends who are supportive and good listeners!
We all need to try new things in life that will help us to reduce the stress and begin to slow down the possibility of stress causing illness in our lives.
I left a job, retiring early because the stress was so thick. I felt bad all the time.
I am thankful that I did it. Looking back, I know that it was the right thing to do.
Do you need to do something right now to help yourself?
Daniel Goleman and Joel Gurin in their book: Mind-Body Medicine: How to use your mind for better health, found that even moderate stress can affect your immune system. Even good stress such as taking a vacation can make you more susceptible to infectious diseases.
What is the answer?
The study of psychoneuroimmunology focuses on behaviors and psychological stressors, especially bereavement and sleep deprivation.
Other factors- it appears that married people are generally healthier than singles, but marital conflict has been shown to disrupt the immune system. Therefore, a bad marriage is just as bad as being single!
Death and Bereavement
Loss of a spouse through death or divorce has been shown to disrupt the immune function, and increases a person’s chances of a fatal heart attacks.
And men who have lost their wives have a higher than average death rate from all causes.
Here are some tips on how to say healthy and less stressed out:
1. Have a good social network. People who have social networks have lower rates of cancer, heart disease and less coronary blockages along with shorter stays in the hospital when they do get sick.
People who isolate themselves have higher than average amounts of illnesses, and higher death rates in general. They have more arthritis, hypertension, heart disease, Tuberculosis and other infections.
2. Try some alternative therapies: Include in your new wellness goal a plan for meditation, yoga, visualization, hypnosis, biofeedback and relaxation techniques. Also try to put some humor in your life!!
These mind-body approaches can directly affect the immune system in a positive way. Humor encourages positive emotions and hypnotic suggestions affect the immune responses. Under hypnosis some people are actually able to increase the amount of lymphocytes in their blood stream which helps the immune system.
3. Try some group work: Research has found, even in cancer patients, that there is power in group membership. Being with people who have the same condition who received supportive group therapy survived 2 times longer as people who did not have support.
Taken in part from: Goleman, D. and Gurin, J. ( 1996). Mind-Body Medicine: How to Use Your Mind For Better Health. Yonkers, NY. Consumer Reports Books.