Have you ever thought that being sick is for the birds, well hypothetically at-least? What a waste of time, right? I have to feel bad just so I can get some rest and relaxation. Oh, and then all the thoughts and worries about what you have to do start creeping in, which is not helpful toward recovering. So why do we get sick and why do some people get sick more than others?
Often times people get sick after a stressful period in their lives. Remember that time you spent all week studying for finals, your adrenaline flowing, and the day after finals you had a chance to relax, but found yourself on the couch with a cold. There is research out today that suggests that the nervous system and the immune system are closely tied together and that molecules in your nervous system can carry the emotion you feel to other cells in your body. Essentially, if your nervous system is stressed then your other cells are stressed as well, leading the immune system to take a break.
So how do we stay healthy? The answer lies in how do you manage your stress. This is not to say that if you have control on your stress you will not get sick, but studies suggest that controlling stress does have a positive influence on your health. One thing to remember in managing stress is your mind/body connection. What you think effects how you feel and in turn how you feel effects what you think. Your mind and body have a strong bond. The biggest thing to reducing stress is understanding that you have stress. Checking in throughout the day with yourself helps you to understand your mental status. This can look like a mental scan of how you feel in your body, asking yourself how you are feeling, and/or journaling. Once you take note of how you feel then you can take steps to address your needs. For instance, I am aware that my stomach is grumbling, I am jittery and I just was short with my co-worker, oh I have not eaten breakfast or lunch, I better eat something. Lack of proper diet, sleep, time for yourself and overscheduling are common reasons for stress. Ways to counteract those are exercising, taking time for relaxation (whatever that looks like for you), making sure to eat meals/snack throughout the day, staying hydrated, and having proper sleep hygiene. Meditation, journaling, breathing and yoga, even for a few minutes per day, can help to decrease stress.
We all take on new things to fill up our stress cup, but we are often neglectful about doing things to release the stress in our cup. The goal is to not let your cup overflow, balance in life is key. If you are interested in learning more about stress and would like to practice balance in your life please contact me at email@example.com or through my website beginwithincounseling.com.