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Understanding Stress, Immunity, and Holistic Healing in Waxhaw, NC
It's a well-known fact that stress can affect your physical and mental health, especially chronic stress. However, if you struggle with anxiety or stress in general, you may sometimes ask yourself, "what does stress do to my body?" "Can it impact my immune system or lead to serious health problems?" "If it does, what can I do to keep my stress level in check?"
In this post, we will examine what stress and immunity are, their benefits, and the relationship between them. We'll also fill you in on how to relieve stress and how holistic healing in Waxhaw, NC, can help.
What Is Stress?
Stress is your body's reaction to any change that causes emotional, physical, or psychological strain. Our body is designed to experience and respond to stress. Of course, everyone experiences stress to some degree, but it’s how you react to it that will impact your overall well-being.
When you experience challenges or changes (stressors), your body produces mental and physical responses. These responses help your body adjust or adapt to new situations. However, when stress continues without periods of relaxation or relief, it becomes a problem.
How Does Stress Affect the Body?
When you experience stress, your body's autonomic nervous system responds with vision changes, heart rate changes, and more. As a result, your muscles tighten, your heart pounds faster, your breath quickens, your blood pressure rises, and your senses become sharper. These physical changes enhance your focus, speed up your reaction time, and increase your stamina and strength – preparing you to face or flee from a stressful situation.
Most people think stress affects the body negatively, but this is not always the case. The truth is: stressors and their consequential responses are not created equal. There are both positive and negative impacts of stress on the human body:
As mentioned earlier, stress can be beneficial because it can keep you motivated, alert, and ready to fight or flee from danger. For instance, your stress response might help you stay awake longer and work harder if you have an important upcoming test.
Other benefits of stress include:
Improving your cognitive function to make you smarter and more productive
Helping you dodge a cold and keeping you healthy
Building resiliency and making you become a stronger person mentally
Enhancing child development
When a person has chronic (long-term) stress, the continued activation of the stress response impacts the body and causes wear and tear. As a result, behavioral, emotional, and physical symptoms may develop.
Stress can lead to physical symptoms or issues like:
Impaired immune system
Pains and aches
Digestive or stomach problems
Jaw clenching or muscle tension
High blood pressure
Dizziness, shaking, or headaches
Issues with sexual function
Trouble sleeping or general exhaustion
Chest pain or palpitations
Stress can also lead to mental and emotional issues like:
Irritability or anxiety
Over time, people with chronic stress tend to develop behavioral issues like:
Using illegal drugs
Compulsively shopping, having sex, or browsing the Internet
Overeating or developing an eating disorder
Drinking alcohol too often or too much
What Is Immunity?
Your immunity is your ability to resist a particular toxin or infection with the help of your sensitized white blood cells or specific antibodies. Your body achieves immunity to diseases or foreign bodies (antigens) – such as viruses, bacteria, and cancerous cells – through antibodies in your body system.
Your immune system is a collection of billions of white blood cells (phagocytes and lymphocytes) traveling through your bloodstream. Its job is to help identify dangerous germs that enter your body and eliminate them before they can cause damage or disease.
The Relationship Between Stress and the Immune System
The relationship between illnesses, your immune system, and stress is complex. Studies show that short-term stress boosts the immune system by allowing it to produce an inflammatory response, which can help fight germs. On the other hand, chronic stress negatively affects the immune system and can ultimately manifest as an illness.
Your body can't fight chronic stress and disease at the same time. That is because your immune system's ability to defend your body against antigens and eliminate harmful microorganisms is reduced when you're stressed.
While responding to chronic stress, your body can produce a larger quantity of the stress hormone corticosteroid. This hormone can suppress your immune system's effectiveness by interfering with normal white blood cell communication and reducing the number of lymphocytes in your bloodstream. That is why you're more susceptible to infectious illnesses, like the flu, when you're stressed.
Stress can also affect your immune system indirectly, especially if you use unhealthy coping mechanisms such as smoking, drinking, and drug use to reduce stress. Unfortunately, these activities can compromise your immunity and lead to other health issues.
How To Relieve Stress
If you're dealing with chronic stress, you need to take the time to identify the cause of it and find ways to cope with your stressors or avoid them. Here are a few stress relief tips you can use every day:
Get active with exercise
Try relaxation activities like muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, tai chi, yoga, and meditation
Eat a healthy diet
Avoid unhealthy habits like overeating, smoking, and drinking too much alcohol or caffeine
Connect with others and laugh more
Get enough sleep
How Holistic Healing in Waxhaw, NC Can Help!
If you're experiencing stress that you can't seem to shake off, or you're simply looking to avoid chronic stress and boost your immunity, you are not alone! At Labor Of Love, we offer holistic healing in Waxhaw, NC, to improve your life's quality and make you feel younger and more vibrant.
Holistic health is a concept that addresses the body's physical, psychological, and emotional aspects as if it is one whole living organism, where each individual part affects the whole system. Our holistic healing services are carefully designed to enhance your entire body's health – including your mind – to address trouble areas or bodily functions without using harmful medication or unnatural methods.
Even if you've tried several treatments with no success, or you suffer from pain or illness caused by stress, our holistic healing exercises and bodywork therapy in Waxhaw, NC, can help you find lasting relief. Contact us today for comprehensive holistic healing services to banish stress and address the root causes of whatever issue you're dealing with.