The discussion around the immune system has always been an important one here at WILDFIT. And looking back on the last year, we’ve realized it has never been more important than it is right now.
Over the next few blog posts, we’re going to be sharing some insights and knowledge on how you can keep your immune system strong. This includes what you can do to avoid weakening it, what you can incorporate to promote strengthening it, the importance of metabolic health, the effects of malnutrition and so much more…
In this post we’re going to be dialing in on the ways you can stop the suppression of your immune system.
Did you know that there are some things in life that we allow that actually have the effect of hurting our immune systems?
One of those things is stress.
The Different Types of Stress
One of the interesting facts about stress is that there are different types of stress: immediate and long-term. The way this works is your body ultimately wants to keep you safe. So if there are no immediate threats in your environment, your body is running optimally.
Now the challenge is, what if something comes along and frightens you. Let’s say you’re walking along in the wilderness and you stumble upon a lion, or a tiger, or a bear (oh my!). What’s going to happen is your adrenal system is going to fire, you’re going to raise tons of cortisol, and immediately your body is going to want to redistribute defensive efforts.
So what does that mean? Well, in effect, it’s fight or flight. In this case, you’re going to lower your shield and divert your energy to the single best way you can to defend yourself against that lion. Then once the lions are gone, you’ll raise your shields back up again.
The challenge is, that used to be the functional response. It used to work like this: Let’s say you’re walking along through the bush in Africa, your immune system is working perfectly normally, and then all of a sudden, a lion. You breathe fast, you get all scared. Then you run, climb a tree, and fight. You think, “I have to do something.” So your shields go down and your immune system works toward jobs like making sure that your blood is healthy, making sure that you don’t bleed out, making sure that you don’t over bruise — it’s protecting you against all of those things. Plus, it’s giving you your whole fight or flight response. It’s doing everything it needs to.
When the whole event is over, because you’ve overcome the lion — you’ve escaped or whatever the case may be — you’re then going to resume your life, and you’ll start making your way back to camp. Every step that you take away from that event is going to be a step towards you letting that event go. It’s already a thing of the past by the time you get back.
Now, the way we handle events like that today goes a little something more like this: you get back to camp and eight years later and somebody asks, “How are you doing?”, to which you reply, “Oh, I’m still freaked out about that lion from that trip eight years ago.”
In other words, we continue to stress and fret about stuff long after the danger is gone. This means we effectively continue to suppress our immune function with stress about things that we really don’t need to. Sitting and stressing about it. Going to bed stressing about it. Waking up stressing about it. Every day you do that, you lower your shields, and you allow something in.
How to Overcome Stress Through Stress Management
So one of the things we want to stress with you in this blog post is working on stress management. Find a way to get some quiet time, walk around in nature, meditate, visualize, get coaching if you need it, or therapy to help you work through the things that are causing you undue stress, because your undue stress is potentially making you susceptible to pathogens and reducing your immune function.
One of the very best things you can do to support your immune function to stop suppressing immune function is to take a look at any chronic things that you’re dealing with, and identify whether or not they’re changeable. If they are, great! Then take the steps to change them.
So if you’re interested in learning more about your immune system, how you can protect it so it’s always operating with the intention of protecting you, then don’t miss out on our free video series where WILDFIT founder Eric Edmeades walks you through specific steps you can take to avoid weakening and rather strengthening your immune system.
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