Millions of people around the world are experiencing high levels of stress during these very challenging times. For some of us, it can be debilitating and often damaging to our health. Stress is a significant factor in mental health problems including anxiety and depression. It is also linked to physical health problems like heart disease, problems with our immune system, insomnia and digestive problems.
Stress is a normal part of human existence and nobody is immune to it. Therefore, it is important that we take care of our mental health and arm ourselves with the knowledge of how to recognise the onset of stress and also learn skills on how to cope with it when it arises.
Since it is officially International Stress Awareness week, we thought we would share some helpful tips on how to reduce stress during these very difficult times.
1. Meditate— Since your immune system responds to both negative & positive thoughts, meditation creates a positive mental environment for the immune system to flourish. It also creates a deep state of rest that triggers the brain to release neurotransmitters that enhance feelings of wellbeing.
2. Breathe — Doing some slow, belly breathing can calm the mind, which in turn strengthens the immune system. When we slow down the breath, we calm the stress response that can weaken the immune system. Try counting to 4 or 5 with each inhalation and exhalation to slow down your breathing.
3. Sleep— Sleep has been known to boost T-cells which help us fight disease, especially viral diseases. Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep.
4. Eat well – Eating a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables are vital for our immune system as the vitamins, antioxidants and micronutrients that they contain keep our cells healthy and support our immune system.
5. Get regular exercise — Exercise can contribute to overall good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do and do their job efficiently.