Perhaps one of the most common issues among busy folks today is that high levels of stress seem to be correlated with more sniffles, sick days, and overall poor health. If this sounds like you, you may be on to something – in fact, it’s well known that chronic stress can harm immune health over time. While you can take steps to protect your immune system by incorporating superfood for cold & flu into your diet and learning more about the link between screen time and anxiety, for instance, if constant stress has been making you feel below the weather, it’s important to understand the link between stress and immunity to enact the lifestyle changes your body needs.
Constant Stress Can Lead to Harmful Immune System Health Conditions
Unfortunately, being under constant levels of high stress can lead to lowered immunity and even the development of certain autoimmune conditions. While you might not see the health effects of high stress overnight, in time, health conditions can begin to develop and may require long-term treatment. Some of these conditions include, but are not limited to:
- Heart disease and other heart health-related conditions
- Inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD
Higher Cortisol Levels May Lead to Chronic Inflammation and Lowered Immunity
Part of the reason stress can lead to lowered immunity over time is because when you experience high levels of stress, your body produces more cortisol. Unfortunately, over time, excess cortisol can cause chronic inflammation, which may then harm your immune system’s ability to ward off disease. More inflammation can mean higher susceptibility not only to long-term conditions like the ones listed above, but to short-term ones like colds or the flu as well, leading to a greater need for a medicine cabinet piled high with cough syrups, Brillia kids over counter flu meds, and more. When your stress levels are typically lower, on the other hand, you may experience fewer bouts of illness and less overall inflammation thanks to your lower cortisol levels.
Stress Can Be Managed Through a Balanced Lifestyle
The good news is that you can manage your stress, and help protect and even boost your immune system, by practicing a balanced lifestyle and actively trying to keep stress levels as low as possible. While stress is common in today’s fast-paced, jam-packed world, it’s possible to help center yourself by improving your work-life balance and making time for healthy eating, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and me-time to refresh and relax.
If you feel like your constant levels of high stress have been taking a toll on your overall health and your immune system in particular, you’re not alone. Stress can have a number of unfortunate effects, from making you more susceptible to short-term illnesses to potentially increasing the risk of heart disease and certain autoimmune disorders down the line. If you want to protect and improve your immunity, however, it’s possible to do so by making sure you re-balance your work schedule, keep up healthy habits and remind yourself to take some time off for personal care on a regular basis.