Are you tired of catching every bug that goes around? Coughs, colds, flus, tummy bugs, cold sores, infections so on and so on???? If someone around you has it, you always pick it up????
You end up missing out on fun social things, feeling run-down and unmotivated with a rather “ticked-off” boss because you keep taking sick days :-O
Well here is an interesting little fact for you today. When we are stressed and this can mean anything from a little fright when someone pulls out in front of you while driving to work to full blown, on-going financial stress, relationship break-down etc etc, our body releases hormones that control our response to this stress.
These hormones trigger our sympathetic nervous system (SNS), otherwise known as our “fight/flight” response. Ultimately this nervous system response is designed to save our life. However, living in a constant state of SNS activation has detrimental effects on our health
Health negative #1) Stress hormones divert blood flow AWAY FROM our digestive system and send it too our heart and extremities, ie. arms and legs. Digestion is not a critical function if you are stressed, whereas “fighting” or “flighting” (OK not a word but catch my meaning here) is, and these both require arms and legs with a ready blood supply. We need blood flow to our digestive system to keep it function efficiently. Nutrients from our food are absorbed through the walls of our small intestines directly into our bloodstream, so if it is not moving and flowing this process is impaired, meaning we could be eating great nutritious food but not reaping the health giving benefits.
Health negative #2) Stress hormones also impact on our immune system. Our digestive system is hugely responsible for our immunity so when this is not functioning well, we are more likely to pick up passing bugs and illnesses. The trouble is, most of us live in a constant state of stress which means we are likely living in a constant state of compromised immune function.
I have noticed the impact of stress on my immunity several times over the past few years. We have had periods, as everyone does, of added stresses, maybe moving house, increased work load, lack of sleep with young children. I really notice in these times that I end up sick a lot more often. I am generally a very healthy person, never catching tummy bugs or flu and seldom catching colds, but throw a bit of stress into the mix and it is a different story.
We can’t ever entirely avoid stress, it is just a fact of life. However, if you find you are often sick then I seriously encourage you to look a your stress levels. We all have busy lives but it is really important to take a few moments throughout the day to stop, breath slowly, look up to the sky, listen to the birds, be thankful and just slow down. This is particularly important before we eat. Too often we eat in a rush, scoffing down our food without chewing it well; not only do we miss out on the taste and satisfaction of a good meal, we are short changing ourselves of a lot of vital nutrients.
It is also important that we allow ourselves the time to wind down, and calm down before we go to bed. This will improve our ability to go to and stay asleep and in a busy and stressful life, your sleep time may be the only “rest and repair” moments that your body gets. A well rested body is going to be much more able to ward off winter bugs, ills and chills.
There are all sorts of reasons a person may be getting sick and many things you can take and do to boost your immunity. Often though we forget the small things, the lifestyle choices, which may have just as big of an impact.
So the take home here is:
- Take some moments throughout the day to STOP, BREATHE, and be THANKFUL.
- Sit down and enjoy your meals, eat them slowly, chew them well and give your body a chance to use the nutrients you are giving it.
- and at the end of the day, calm down and choose to switch off the brain and SLEEP. (totally easier said than done, but practice makes perfect right)