Request an Appointment

Full name

Phone Number

Email

Preferred Date

Preferred Time

New or existing client
NewExisting

Practitioner

AnyDr Fiona McIntyreDr Matthias HouvenagelDr Chelsey Kedmenec

Additional Information

We've moved! Find us at 112 Maribyrnong Road, Moonee Ponds, Vic 3039
The Effect of Stress on your Immune System Home / Products / The Effect of Stress on your Immune System

As we all know, our lives right now are quite stressful as we try to deal with the containment of COVID-19. Things are happening now that have never happened in some people’s lifetimes which can be scary and confronting. It’s normal to be anxious about a situation that you have never been exposed to before, but too much anxiety and stress can have detrimental effects on your immune system, leaving you prone to infection and sickness.

Stress is confusing and temperamental. Sometimes, it can be a motivator that helps you rise to the occasion. Other times, it can be overwhelming and exhausting. If your stress is chronic, it will have negative impacts on your health.

What happens when we stress?

The stress cycle begins with an “external stressor”, otherwise known as the trigger. This could be anything, from watching your favourite AFL team in a Grand Final to that snarky comment from your work colleague.

All your senses switch on to respond to this trigger by scanning for danger and assessing safety. This ability to know if the environment is safe or not is called neuroception and it happens without you knowing!

If your senses detect a threat, a signal is sent to the part of your brain, called the amygdala, which processes emotions. Once the amygdala is triggered, a signal is then sent to the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, two sections of the brain responsible for maintaining balance in your body. All of these sections communicate via the autonomic nervous system, the part of your nervous system that controls functions without your conscious awareness, e.g. heart rate, blood pressure etc.

When the hypothalamus and pituitary gland detect danger, the sympathetic nervous system is activated. This is the half of your autonomic nervous system that rules the “flight or fight” response. Stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are released which stimulates the flight or fight response, resulting in excitation of your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems.

When your sympathetic nervous system is activated, the other half of your autonomic nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system is suppressed as they both can’t be active at the same time. Your parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the “rest and digest” functions of the body. The suppression of it results in your immune and digestive systems standing down.

Being stressed for a long period of time leaves your immune system suppressed for a long period of time. This can lead to frequent illness and infection as your body’s ability to fight off infection is largely diminished. Chronic stress also increases your risk of developing heart and digestive disorders. 

How to de-stress

  • Sleep
    • Having a proper night’s sleep will leave you feeling refreshed in the morning and ready to attack the day. Introducing a regular, healthy sleep cycle has shown to have positive effects on productivity levels and your mindset.
  • Exercise
    • When you are physically active, your body releases mood-boosting chemicals called endorphins. Exercise does not only help you destress, it helps improve your physical state too. It lowers blood pressure, strengthens muscles and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Meditate
    • Meditation or mindfulness techniques have been shown to reduce heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure. Meditation also promotes deep breathing, another relaxation technique, which overall relaxes the mind and body.
  • Disconnect
    • Sometimes it’s good to just put your phone, computer or iPad away. This lets you escape all the problems that are happening in the world. Even if it is for just 10-15 minutes, distracting yourself can have a positive effect on your mindset.
  • Do the things you love
    • Enjoy life and make sure you are doing things you love doing. Doing this will introduce a feeling of satisfaction and will leave you with a smile on your face.

Dr. Tim Roberts

Ascot Vale Osteopathy

 

 

 

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published, all comments are approved before posted

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE...

Take A Deep Breath

Breathing is one of the most basic and fundamental functions of the human body, yet, a lot of us seem to do it all wrong. We don’t seem to worry about our breathing at all, until our breathing becomes abnormal. What we don’t understand is how importan...

read more

What pain relief is right for you?

Pain has been a huge topic of discussion for a long time now. Nearly everyone feels it, and it varies in character and severity depending on what part of the body is implicated. None of us like being in pain, so the first thing we do is to look for a solu...

read more

Psoas – Back pain and Breathing

Psoas is a strong and powerful muscle, yet often overlooked, and tt can be responsible for a host of ailments. The Psoas muscle originates from the T12 and Lumbar spinal segments, where it blends in with fibers of the diaphragm (your primary breathing ...

read more

Love your knees!

The knee joint is the largest joint in the human body and is also quite a complex one, as it is actually made up of 2 joints. There are 3 bones that form these two joints. They are the femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin bone) and the patella (knee cap). The ...

read more