Extended Stress Alters Body’s Immune System
By Dawn Meyer, LMT // May 3, 2013
ACTIVE & HEALTHY LIVING
ABOVE VIDEO: Changing your daily routine, diet, & outlook on life can have a lasting impact on stress levels. (CVSPharmacyVideos)
ALL STRESSED OUT? FRUSTRATED? ANXIOUS?
Stress is so very prevalent in our hectic society. There are a million things to do all the time. People constantly wanting to keep in touch with you via email and cell phone – bombarding you with constant information and requests.
It just wears you out until you don’t know where to turn.
THE IMPACT OF STESS
Stress is your body’s normal physical response when you feel threatened or upset. It’s your body’s way of protecting you – it’s your fight-or-flight response – increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, decreased digestion, increased concentration and focus.
A normal stress response can help you stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can save your life by giving you extra strength to defend yourself or react quickly to avoid danger.
The stress response can also help you handle challenges in normal, everyday situations such as keeping you on your toes during a presentation at work, increasing your concentration when you’re studying for or taking exams or helping your focus when playing sports.
But stress stops being helpful if experienced for extended periods of time and instead can cause major damage to your health and even to your mood, productivity, relationships and eventually to your quality of life.
According to the American Psychological Association, studies have shown that extended stress can alter the body’s immune system producing conditions that are usually associated with “aging” such as reduced ability to regenerate blood cells, frailty, functional decline, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, inflammatory arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers – all actually causing the body to appear physically older than its chronological age.
MASSAGE IS A GREAT STRESS RELIEVER
– Massage promotes relaxation by relaxing muscles and relieving tension, aches and pain,
– Improves blood and lymph circulation; improves joint mobility; improves immune system functioning,
– Improves and balances energy flow,
– Speeds recovery from strenuous physical exertion,
– Triggers the relaxation response.
BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
For some people, the thought of sitting for any period of time with your own thoughts can be daunting at first, but it is amazingly relaxing. You don’t need hours of meditation to get the benefits, just a few minutes will help.
Simply close your eyes, breathe deeply and envision yourself somewhere peaceful. Just for a few minutes. Listen to the breeze or the waves in your mind and let it carry your tension away!
It’s a great pick-me-up at any time.
Turn off your phone, computer and TV.
Yes, I know some people are addicted to their electronic devices, but sometimes you just need to turn them off, or at least leave them behind and do something else. That constant bombardment of stimuli just winds the body up even more, continually demanding attention and focus.
GET OUT INTO NATURE
Being in nature has a very soothing effect on the body. Go for a walk under some trees or on the beach. Sit outside and read. Listen to the wind and the birds. Just flow with nature and let your stress dissolve.
There are many other ways to reduce your stress, but it really comes down to taking time for yourself and taking care of yourself. You need that body for a while, take care of it. You take care of everything else and every one else, put yourself on the top of that list now. You are important enough to have time for yourself.
Now, go for a walk!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dawn Meyer, LMT, is a trained Reiki Master, and the founder of The Awareness Center. For more information about The Awareness Center, call 321-261-5975, or log on to OurAwarenessCenter.com. The Awareness Center is located at 633-C Brevard Avenue, in the heart of Cocoa Village, Florida.