When experiencing high levels of stress, having a strong immune system can keep your body healthy and operating properly. However, sometimes trying to stay healthy can feel equally as stressful. Prioritizing self-care doesn’t have to be a burden or a chore. There are several fun, simple ways to balance your immune system and reduce your stress at the same time.
How Your Immune System Works
Your immune system defends your body against outside invaders such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and toxins. The lymphoid organs, thymus, lymph nodes, spleen and bone marrow work together to block, break down and remove threatening substances.
Two Parts of The Immune System:
- Innate Immune System: Immediate response phagocytes that are inherited and active at birth.
- Adaptive Immune System: Secondary response T and B lymphocytes that are activated by exposure to threats and develop slowly throughout life.
The Innate Immune System relies on genes inherited from parents to detect and anticipate threats. The Adaptive Immune System relies on personal memories and experiences to detect and remember threats.
If the Adaptive Immune System is working properly, it regulates itself and accurately identifies beneficial vs harmful substances. However, autoimmune diseases and immunodeficiency disorders can cause overactive or under-active threat responses. When the immune system is out of balance, it can attack the body’s properly functioning cells and tissues. Common symptoms such as allergies and asthma can indicate a weak immune system.
Balance Is Key
The key to balancing and regulating the adaptive immune system is to practice exposing yourself to more healthy substances and environments. A nutritious diet, moderate exercise and consistent sleep can help regulate your immune system to detect threats accurately. Too much caffeine, sugar and alcohol can trigger too many reactions or even dull them.
If you’re always feeling stressed, your immune system can be overwhelmed with constant activity. The more comfortable you are in your environment, the less your body may feel threatened. The more you can engage in your environment in a balanced way, the more your adaptive immune system can improve threat detection accuracy and keep you safe.
4 Fun Ways to Balance Your Immune System
1. Bask in Nature
Enjoying fresh air and sunlight is an easy way to balance your immune system. Go for a walk, ride a bike or set up a picnic. If you aren’t able to go to a park, try simply sitting by a tree or some flowers in your yard. Plants naturally clean the air by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Read a book or listen to music for an hour while you bask in NatureRx.
University of Illinois Environment and Behavior researcher Ming Kuo, researched nature’s ability to enhance immune system functionality.
“Exposure to nature switches the body into “rest and digest” mode, which is the opposite of the “fight or flight” mode. When the body is in “fight or flight” mode, it shuts down everything that is immediately nonessential, including the immune system.
When we feel completely safe, our body devotes resources to long-term investments that lead to good health outcomes–growing, reproducing, and building the immune system. When we are in nature in that relaxed state, and our body knows that it’s safe, it invests resources toward the immune system.”
Sunlight is also a great source of Vitamin D which can boost your immune system. Just 15 minutes of sun exposure can reducing respiratory inflammation, boost immunity and increase overall health.
2. Move and Groove
Allowing your body to be adaptable and flexible can help keep your immune system balanced. Try some light, creative forms of exercise like dance, tai chi or yoga to reduce stress and improve balance.
As stated in the The Power of Dance: Health and Healing study, “Dance may promote wellness by strengthening the immune system through muscular action and physiological processes. Dance conditions an individual to moderate, eliminate, or avoid tension, chronic fatigue, and other disabling conditions that result from the effects of stress.”
Dance psychologist, Dr Peter Lovatt reports that “You appear to get a much bigger release of endorphins when you dance than during other forms of exercise; it also connects with the emotional centers in the brain. For many people, dancing prompts an emotional release.”
His study found that dancing along to music for even just five minutes can boost happiness and improve creative-thinking patterns.” Whether you’re in your room, in the shower, or on-the-go, allow yourself to have a short dance party, for health’s sake!
3. Soak and Savor Scents
Enjoying a long, hot bath is a wonderful way to relieve stress and calm your immune system. Sensory and aroma-therapy can reduce stress and bring your body back to the “rest and digest” state. Simply adding a cup of epsom salt to your bath is an easy way to utilize th natural exfoliant and anti-inflammatory remedy. Epsom salt contains magnesium and sulfate which can help release toxins from your body.
You can also boost your bath benefits by adding essential oils such as eucalyptus and tea tree. They have antiviral properties that may protect against viral infection. You can also inhale oils using a diffuser or absorb them by adding a couple drops to your hand sanitizer or soap. Studies also show that lavender essential oil has a calming effect, so it can help ease anxiety and reduce stress.
4. Laugh Out Loud
Watching your favorite comedy show or YouTube video is a fun, easy way strengthen your immunity! Laughter can increase oxygen intake, stimulate your heart, lungs and muscles, and increase endorphins. Laughing also activates T-cells which are the secondary response defenders in the adaptive immune system.
There are also correlations between laughter and the lymphatic system. “When you laugh, the diaphragm becomes a powerful pump for your lymphatic circulation…Lymphatic vessels carry fluid through your body and helps your lymph nodes to clean and filter this fluid, removing waste products, dead cells, and even unwanted microorganisms. Maintaining clean body fluids is important because these are necessary for you to be at your best. Increased lymphatic flow = an elevated, improved immune system.”
When you laugh, make sure to allow yourself to go full ham. Don’t hold back your belly laughs and allow yourself to make a sound. The bigger the laugh, the bigger the health benefit can be. In a Humor and Immune Function Study, researchers found that “the subjects who laughed out loud during the humor video had significantly increased immune function.”
Whether you’re dancing in nature, or laughing in the tub, carving out time to enjoy yourself can have long lasting effects on overall health. The more you practice slowing down, savoring your surroundings and being present in the moment, the more you can help calm and regulate your immune system.
Contact Natural Bio Health Today
If you’re concerned about your ability to fight off infection, we offer a variety of supplements to boost immunity. You may also consider reaching out to an expert. Our team is dedicated to helping you understand the numerous factors that may be keeping you from reaching your optimal health.
Our team of specialists understands our patients’ concerns about office safety during the time of COVID-19. We are proud to offer telemedicine services through video and phone calls. We are also seeing patients in person at our offices, but are abiding by new, strict safety precautions. To schedule your appointment, contact us here. We serve Texans in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Round Rock, and College Station.