Without doubt, lifestyle pattern is something that directly affects your immune system.
unorganized and haphazard lifestyle has the most devastating influence
on immunity resistance. Without a properly functioning immune system the
body cannot fight off illness and infection, which essentially could
lead to a benign cold or something more devastating such as cancer.
The key to avoiding sickness is a strong defense system. A strong
defense system is all in your hands, and is influenced by beneficial day
to day feelings and habits. Things that generally make us feel good are
also good for our immune system. Things such as the warmth of the sun, a
great song, helping someone in need, laughing heartily, feeling
happy, spending time with friends, a relaxing massage or even the simple
act of skipping playfully.
Effortlessly, to boost your immune system, partake in
more activities that are pleasurable. After all, isn't that what this
short life is ultimately about anyway?
GET OUT & MINGLE - don't become a loner
immune system likes it when you spend time with friends and family. "We
have phenomenal data showing the value of nurturing, social support and
camaraderie," says neurologist Barry Bittman, M.D., CEO of the
Mind-Body Wellness Center in Meadville, Pa. In one such study,
researchers exposed people to a cold virus and then monitored how many
contacts those people had with friends, family, co-workers and members
of church and community groups. The more social contacts the people had -
and the more diverse the contacts - the less likely they were to catch
the cold. Touch is important too: Giving or getting hugs or other forms
of touch can boost the activity of the natural killer cells that seek
out and destroy cancer cells or cells that have been invaded by viruses.
LISTEN TO MUSIC YOU LOVE - or make music
to music can boost your immunity, but it has to be music you love.
"Something that calms one person might rile another," Berk says. "The
trick is finding music that soothes your soul." Scientists at McGill
University in Montreal found that listening to music that sent "shivers
down the spine" or that gave people chills stimulated the same
"feel-good" parts of the brain that are activated by food and sex. "Even
better than listening to music is making it," says Bittman, who found
that people who took part in an amateur group-drumming session had
greatly enhanced natural killer-cell activity afterward.
LAUGH OUT LOUD
While painful emotions like anger and grief can impair health,
laughter does the opposite. A real belly laugh increases
infection-fighting antibodies and boosts natural killer-cell activity,
says Berk, who has shown students funny videos and measured their immune
systems' response. "Even anticipating a humorous encounter can enhance
immunity," he says. "It happens at the molecular level." Laughter also
increases circulation, stimulates digestion, lowers blood pressure and
reduces muscle tension.
TURN DOWN THE VOLUME
hurts more than your ears. Any unwanted and intrusive sound can trigger
muscle tension, speed heartbeat, constrict blood vessels and cause
digestive upsets - the same response your body has to being startled or
stressed. Chronic exposure to noise can lead to even longer-lasting
changes in blood pressure, cholesterol levels and immune function.
Cornell University research found that women who work in moderately
noisy offices produce more of the stress hormone adrenaline and may be
more vulnerable to heart disease than women who work in quiet offices.
Even worse are unwelcome sounds you perceive as uncontrollable, such as
car alarms, barking dogs and P.A. systems. Try to take control over the
noise in your environment, even if it means wearing earplugs or asking
the restaurant owner or gym manager to turn down the music.
LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE - & live 12 years longer
immune system takes many of its cues from our thoughts and feelings, so
try to keep your outlook upbeat. Years ago, Mayo Clinic researchers
found that people who were optimists in their youth tended to live 12
years longer than pessimists. A recent study by Anna L. Marsland, Ph.D.,
R.N., a psychologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center,
found that people who were negative, moody, nervous and easily stressed
had a weaker immune response to a hepatitis vaccination than their more
positive peers. Negativity is a personality trait that's difficult to
change, but if wearing rose-colored glasses can improve your immunity,
why not try on a pair?
USE YOUR BRAIN
Certain kinds of thinking may boost immunity. University of California,
Berkeley, neuroscientist Marian Diamond, Ph.D., found that playing
bridge stimulated women's immune systems. Her research is the first to
show a connection between the immune system and the part of the brain
that handles planning, memory, initiative, judgment and abstract
thinking. Says Diamond: "Any mental activity that uses one or a
combination of these intellectual functions might benefit immune
MOVE YOUR BODY
Regular, moderate exercise can boost several aspects of your body's
self-defense system. "Physical activity not only strengthens your
cardiovascular system," Berk says, "it improves your mood and reduces
stress as well." Many studies show that long-term training also elevates
natural killer-cell activity. But don't push too hard: If you're
already under emotional stress, you might want to avoid exercising
beyond your usual level. And if your training is unusually prolonged and
intense, your risk for illness and infection goes up.
LEARN HOW TO RELAX
Stress jacks up your body's production of
cortisol and adrenaline, hormones that lower immune response. No wonder
you're more likely to come down with a cold or the flu when faced with
stressful situations like final exams or relationship problems.
Stress-induced anxiety also can inhibit natural killer-cell activity. If
practiced regularly, any of the well-known relaxation techniques --
from aerobic exercise and progressive muscle relaxation to meditation,
prayer and chanting -- help block release of stress hormones and
increase immune function.
SLEEP IN TOTAL DARKNESS
when it's really dark does your body produce melatonin, a hormone that
helps prevent certain diseases. Not sleeping enough, or being exposed to
light during the night, decreases melatonin production and boosts
estrogen levels, increasing breast-cancer risk. In fact, recent studies
have found a height-ended risk of breast cancer -- up to 60 percent --
among women who work the graveyard shift, and possibly an even greater
increase among women with the brightest bedrooms. Not surprisingly,
blind women have an approximate 20-50 percent reduction in breast-cancer
risk. Even a dim source like a bedside clock or a night light may
switch melatonin production off, so keep your bedroom as dark as
DRY BRUSH YOUR SKIN
Brushing your skin
every day not only boosts the circulation and leaves skin glowing, it's
also said to aid lymphatic drainage - the body's method of flushing out
toxins and dispersing excess fluid. Lymph
is considered part of our immune system and is made of white blood
cells called lymphocytes and the interstitial fluid that bathe our
cells, bringing our cells nutrients and removing their waste. All
detoxification occurs first and foremost through the lymph. Our bodies
contain far more lymph than blood, so you can see how important this
might be. Paavo Airola maintains that dry brushing is an essential part
of any intestinal cleansing and healing program.
Dry brushing literally
moves the lymph containing large proteins and particulate matter that
cannot be transported in any other way back into circulatory system.
EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS
who keep their opinions and emotions bottled have killer T cells that
are less active than those found in more expressive peers.
Having a constructive argument with your spouse can actually increase
immunity, with surges in blood pressure, heart rate, and immune-related
white blood cells similar to that seen with moderate exercise. But it
has to stay constructive; couples who frequently use sarcasm, insults,
and put-downs have fewer virus-fighting natural killer cells, have
higher levels of stress hormones, and take up to 40% longer to recover
from injuries than those who manage to stay positive during their
GO OUT IN THE SUN -
for 15 minutes
Not only does the warmth
of the sun on your face and skin feel amazing, but a small amount of UV
radiation from the sun can benefit health greatly, generating vitamin D
production in the skin and increasing T cells. In the summer, an
exposure of 15 minutes to the hands and face is adequate. Too much sun
can depress the immune system so don't burn. In the winter, get out on
the sunny days and make sure to use a vitamin D lamp or supplementation.
Getting out in the sun has the added plus of getting some fresh air
which is essential for your wellbeing.
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