Stress damages your immunity. Learn how and start fighting back with these easy tips.
Stress is always lurking behind the scenes, but we rarely talk about it.
Does it make us feel weak to admit we’re stressed? Or does it just feel like you’re complaining, and nothing’s going to change?
I get it. I’ve been there.
Heck, I was there just yesterday. The truth is, we have so many balls we’re juggling, which is stressful!
You know the feeling. Your heart starts racing, your mind is in a thousand different places, and you're becoming short and irritable. Sometimes, I shut down when I’m overwhelmed with stress. I just crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head and try to sleep it away.
If you’re reading this, you can relate. So let’s dig into what stress truly is and why you’re feeling stressed and frazzled these days.
What Is Stress?
Stress is a normal reaction that happens to everyone, even to that friend who always seems so calm and stress-free. Thankfully, your body is designed to experience stress and knows how to react to it.
Minor stress is actually a good thing for you. It can help:
- Keep you alert in a sketchy situation
- Push you to study harder for the upcoming exam
- Drive you to knock out that presentation due at work
The feelings of stress towards raising kids can help you establish healthy consequences and boundaries, leading to well-rounded kiddos and less anxiety-filled teenage years.
Chronic stress is a different story. When you’re constantly stressed, with no relief, and for long periods, you end up with chronic stress.
This is where it can start to impact your body negatively.
Physical Symptoms of Prolonged Stress
- Aches and pains
- Chest pain
- Racing heart
- Brain Fog
- Jaw clenching
- Digestive issues
- Weak immune system
If you’re feeling any of the above, don’t fear. Even the best of us have found our way into these dark moments.
But there is light in the darkness. Continue reading for more.
The Impact of Chronic Stress on Your Body
When you hear the word stress, this is usually the type of stress you think of. The stress where you feel tension, anxiety, worry, pressure and strain. This is chronic stress.
So what happens in your body while you’re experiencing this type of stress?
Produce Too Much Cortisol
When you’re stressed, your body produces the hormone cortisol. Little bursts of cortisol in minimal stressful situations are actually great for your body, boosting immunity and reducing inflammation.
But when this keeps occurring repeatedly for a long time (chronic stress), it actually has the opposite effect, opening the door for inflammation.
Decreases Your Body’s Lymphocytes
Lymphocytes are white blood cells in your body that help fight off infection and illness. Stress actually decreases the amount of these.
The lower your lymphocyte levels are, the higher your risk of catching colds, the flu and other nasty bugs.
Causes Depression & Anxiety
When stress becomes depression and full anxiety, your inflammation levels skyrocket. When inflammation levels stay high long-term, you now have an overworked and exhausted immune system that’s not strong enough to fight.
Leads to Health Issues
Chronic stress, if not addressed, can lead to some major health issues such as:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Fast heart rate
- Heart disease
- Gastric ulcers
- Panic attacks
- Severe depression
You’ll also be at greater risk for diabetes, cancers and overall mental decline.
This list isn’t meant to freak you out. It’s more about becoming aware that stress is serious if it’s not addressed.
The good news is: it’s never too late to start taking better care of yourself and finding ways to stress less.
Now that we understand what stress does to your body let’s figure out where this stress is coming from.
Causes of Stress
Many areas in life could cause you stress. Evaluate each of these areas to see where the majority of your stress could be coming from.
- Financial Stress
- Personal relationships
- Daily responsibilities
- Death in the family
Some of these, you may not be able to control.
What you CAN control is how you cope and handle that stress. It makes all the difference.
6 Ways to Alleviate Stress
Stress may feel like part of life, but when it turns into chronic stress, it’s time to start fighting back.
Here are a few ways to help keep your stress levels in check.
Easier said than done, I know.
But there are some really great relaxation techniques that don’t take much time and really work.
Try meditation, prayer, breathing exercises, or even a cup of loose leaf tea while soaking in a warm bath. Diffusing and using topical essential oils are also great for alleviating stress and calming your mind.
2. Take Care of Yourself
Eat three healthy meals daily with brain-boosting snacks (nuts, seeds, berries). Try your hardest to get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep and exercise even though you might not feel like it. It can be something as simple as an evening walk, anything to get your blood pumping.
3. Boost Your Immune Health
One of the best ways to boost your immune health is with a simple dose of Organic Elderberry Syrup. You can take it straight from the bottle or incorporate it into everyday recipes.
Check out my favorite and easy elderberry recipes here on my blog.
4. Practice Gratitude
The benefits and healing effects of the consistent practice of gratitude can completely transform your mind and body in profound ways! One of these ways is through your brain.
When you practice gratitude, your brain gets stimulated, leading to overall balance in your body’s internal environment.
5. Just Say No
Learn to say no when you need to. Is your schedule already as busy as it can be? Then don’t feel bad when you can’t do it. Give yourself downtime, even if you have to schedule it. And don’t let anything else take its place.
6. Stay Connected
The best medicine for a stressed-out mind and body? Having a friend to talk to.
Stay connected to your friends and family, and be open with them. Talk about what’s bothering you — sometimes that is exactly what you need to let some things go. Let them share your journey, you’re not meant to live this life alone.
Your Next Steps
If you ever start to feel incredibly stressed and overwhelmed, yet none of these tips seem to help, it may be time to seek professional help. That’s ok!
It takes bravery and courage to say you need someone to walk beside you on this journey.
Ultimately, we want to see you happy, healthy and thriving in life! That’s exactly why I founded Elderberry Queen, to share my passion for healthy living with other parents and families.
I care, and I’m always in your corner.
So let’s try our hardest to stress less and enjoy every moment of our life because it truly is a gift.