The latest episode in our Resilience Unravelled series has now been released, Resilience Unravelled – It’s time to boost our immune system. Part 2. This is the second of Dr Russell Thackeray’s podcasts which were recorded in conjunction with Port Solent Wellness and Therapy Centre. In Part 1 he looked at foods that can help boost immunity and in this episode he looks at the other aspects that can help.
In this podcast Dr Thackeray talks about how our immune system is affected by stress and anxiety. Stress is the physiological reaction to the ‘fight or flight’ process, during which the body produces hormones containing adrenalin and cortisol. Cortisol is responsible for our raised blood pressure and heart rate but fortunately it’s something that can be used up through exercise. Exercise can also improve cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, control weight and additionally help our circulation to move the cells and substances in our immune system efficiently around our body.
Most of the stress and anxiety we feel comes down to the choices we make. If we choose to watch the news and see it as bad that’s our choice. If we allow it to make us anxious that’s a result of our choice. Dr Thackeray feels that at the moment catching-up with factual news items once or twice a day would be a sensible choice as constantly watching what’s happening on social media can drive negativity and a feeling of not being in control. Currently, we can’t control some of the things happening in our lives so we have to focus on the things we can control. More control means less anxiety. Anxiety is often seen as a fear of the unknown or of the future so if we think our future is uncertain it stimulates our anxiety which then produces the stress response in our body. We can calm this down if we get control or make a plan that helps us understand what’s going to happen.
One of the things we can easily introduce into our lives to help control our stress is diaphragmatic breathing. There are several different ways of doing this but they all use deep, slow and controlled breathing through the diaphragm. If we focus on our breathing, not only do we benefit from getting oxygenated blood and red blood corpuscle cells into our body, but we can’t be distracted by the cause of our stress. Another thing that’s very important to our immunity is sleep. It’s the time our body rejuvenates and resets itself so getting a good nights’ sleep is essential. Having a routine for getting ready to go to bed often helps as it develops a feeling of closing down but whilst we’ve all got a lot to think about keep some paper and a pen next to the bed so if you do wake up you can write down what’s worrying you.
Laughter, music and dancing are all excellent ways to control stress and anxiety as they use up cortisol. Other more thoughtful or reflective approaches include journaling, a form of self guided meditation, mindfulness which helps us focus on the now and meditation which helps us empty our minds so negative thoughts can be pushed away. Additionally, although our relationships are always important, at the moment we really need to work at them. Many of us are living in far closer proximity than usual and spending a lot more time together so it’s important to make time for ourselves. Keep in touch with family and friends but make sure your friends aren’t ‘drainers’ who sap your energy but people who have a positive effect on you.
There are also a lot of different therapies that some people find helpful. Some like Yoga, Music Therapy, Coaching and Hypnotherapy are well established whilst others like Reiki and Crystal Therapy are less so but this doesn’t take way from the fact that some people find them very helpful. You can find out more about different therapies and how they can be used at Port Solent Wellness and Therapy Centre.
Finally, we have put together an ebook which pulls together the information contained in Dr Thackeray’s immunity boosting podcasts along with some additional information. This is available to download at qedod/immunity/
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