Stressful events that occur on a short-term basis can change the way your immune systems responds temporarily. Responses from the immune system to short-term stresses can actually be helpful in some cases, redistributing cells in a positive manner to help your body adapt as a quick-fix. Moderately stressful events, however, can have a damaging impact on your body’s immune system, while traumatic and chronic stress can compromise your immune system’s ability to perform.
Individuals react differently to stressful situations: some experience more physiological changes when under pressure than others. Stress and the immune system can bring about conditions in which your body’s cells can actually be suppressed and rendered unable to engage in their useful functions of protecting your body against infections.
From one stressful presentation you have to make at work, to the everyday traffic congestion that can turn into road rage, stress and the immune system play a significant role in your overall health. If your body’s immune system isn’t functioning properly, all sorts of germs, bacteria, viruses, and diseases have the opportunity to pass into your system to cause you more grief.
Diabetes, ulcers, heart attacks, and asthma are just a few conditions made worse by the effects of stress and the immune system. Increases in chemicals produced by your body that help with nerve conduction cause changes in your heart rate and blood vessels, compromising the immune system’s response when you enter situations that cause you stress.
To help lower the chances that stress and the immune system will negatively affect your daily life, you can take steps such as eating right, getting regular exercise and getting plenty of rest. Your body needs you to take care of it so that it can help take care of you. Eating healthy and nutritious foods is a good place to start. Consumption of foods such as orange vegetables (carrots, pumpkin, squash, and sweet potatoes) help with the Vitamin A your skin needs to help prevent bacteria from getting into your body. Lean, low-fat beef and certain types of mushrooms containing zinc promote the building of white blood cells to help fight infection. Tea, fortified cereals and yogurt also aid in keeping your immune system functioning well.
You can also try to keep your stress levels at a minimum — easier said than done for a lot of people. Practice deep-breathing exercises and other anxiety-calming techniques to try to reduce your stress levels. Stress and the immune system can negatively impact your body’s health and well being when stress gets out of hand and your immune system isn’t up to its job. Stress is a physiological process, but you can take psychological steps to rein it in and get control over the situation before it gets out of control and causes an illness to befall you.