Stress-Busting For Better Immunity

brain health healthy eating healthy living meditation mindful movement resilience sleep stress-free Mar 12, 2023

Stress.  It’s one of the biggest factors linked to an immune system that’s out of balance. 

If you’re experiencing a lot of stress, you may be experiencing a lot of physical symptoms like muscle aches, joint pain, headaches and mind-numbing fatigue.

All of these symptoms are a sign of chronic inflammation. And stress is a key factor for causing this.

And the best thing you can do is try to lower the stress levels you experience every day. Some stress is okay, but too much and symptoms can be debilitating.

Go through the tips that are listed here. See which ones you can adopt and give them a try. You may be surprised at the results. 

How to Create Stress-Busting Habits

Where does the feeling of stress come from? It comes from the fear of having no control. However, everyone has some control over their activities, and with control comes power to change your life. 

The goal to reducing stress is: 

  • Identify what you can change. 

We can all do things differently, and sometimes simple solutions can free up our time and relieve us of some pressure. 

  • Make peace with what you can’t. 

This isn’t easy and requires the most work. But if you can successfully free up some time by changing what you can, it will give you time to focus on making peace with yourself and seeking the help you need.  

Look for the benefit or life lesson in what you cannot change.  You may not appreciate it right now, but over time you may realize that some good can come out of it!

Lifestyle-Changing Exercise 1: 

In order to reduce stress, you have to make positive changes to your current lifestyle. 

Anyone can develop any habit they wish. The key here is that there has to be a good reason to make the change.  And we need to be willing to apply consistent (daily!) effort to make them “stick.”

The following exercise will increase your awareness of how you decide what to do each day, and will also help you develop a reason to change.

First, look at your current lifestyle and activities.

Make a list of all the activities that keep you so busy.

  • Look at each activity. Assess which ones you absolutely must do. Put them in Category A – Must do!
  • Then assess which activities you could postpone or ask someone else to do. Or maybe you think you need to do them, but when you do this exercise, you realize you don’t really need to do them.  These are now in Category C – Stop!
  • Once you have determined what you absolutely must do and what you could stop doing, make a list of all the things you wish you could do with enough time, those that would be fun and good for you, and may help reduce stress. These are pleasurable, often self-care activities.  This will be Category B – If time.  Note that you can’t make time for stress-reducing activities if you don’t know what they are.

Now, set no more than three to four priorities per day. Schedule the items from “Category A – Must do!” into your next couple of days or weeks.  Cross off those in “Category C!”  And see when you have time for those pleasurable and self-care activities in “Category B”  if there's no time for these, rethink what's in Category A!

Setting priorities allows you to focus on the tasks at hand. It improves your ability to do the task more quickly and efficiently. It also means that completing all your priorities for the day is doable.  And this lowers stress. When you know you have enough time, you relax, and you lower your cortisol levels. 

To help you make this list, consider these tips:

  1. Keep your focus on the task-at-hand as you perform a task, not on what you need to do next.  This is a key concept for the practice of mindfulness. Anxiety sets in when we think about the unknown. We panic when we don’t know how things are going to turn out.  Focusing on one task at a time improves your ability to do the task more quickly and efficiently. It also means that completing all your priorities for the day is doable.
  2. Make time for exercise – walking 30 minutes a day will help improve brain function, increase energy and generally lift your mood. It also helps lower cortisol levels. Other types of exercise are acceptable if you are relaxed and enjoying the process. Not used to walking or “don’t have time?”  Start with 5 minutes a day
  3. Get 7–8 hours of sleep at night. This is a tough one for those who are stressed. If your body doesn’t lower its cortisol levels before bedtime, sleep doesn’t happen. The same is true if cortisol production doesn’t happen in a normal fashion. Many people can fall asleep but often wake up throughout the night.  See more sleep tips here.
  4. Try journaling. Writing down your thoughts every day allows you to recognize what is bothering you and why it’s bothering you. It helps you develop creative solutions to solve problems.  And keeping a Gratitude journal helps you appreciate all the positives you have in your life!
  5. Eat the right foods for you. Real Foods, not processed, lots of veggies!
  6. Learn how to breathe deeply. Do this during the day when you feel your anxiety levels rising or at night when you’re trying to go to sleep. This is a great technique for lowering cortisol levels. Extend your exhale, making it longer than your inhale – this will turn off “fight or flight” and turn on “rest, digest and restore.”
  7. Meditate. Consistency does help! There are many guided meditations online to help. It may take some practice before you see a difference. And know that it’s OK to start small – even 5 minutes of sitting and breathing counts!

Lifestyle-Changing Exercise 2:

Some find it helpful to write out tomorrow’s “To Do" list the night before, so that you can relax and sleep without worrying that you’ll remember everything you have to do.

  • Think about tomorrow.  Make a list of what you have to do.
  • Pick three to four priorities – see above Exercise #1
  • Look at the rest of the list – what can you postpone, get someone else to do or not do at all (because it’s not really necessary).
  • If tomorrow happens to be a day when you don’t have a lot to do, then plan an activity that will help you take your mind away from any pressure and help you find your joy. Treat yourself. Spend quality time with loved ones. Work on a creative project. Have a nap. Whatever makes you happy. 
  • Notice how your anxiety is reduced!

Lifestyle-Changing Exercise 3: 

Don’t underestimate “simple.”  

We can give ourselves joy by reminding ourselves about the simple things we enjoy. It can be as simple as patting the dog or cat or cuddling with your kids or grandkids. It can be enjoying your favourite cup of tea or watching a TV show you really enjoy. So often when we think about reducing stress, we think of needing to make a big change like quitting our job or moving to a new place. We can feel overwhelmed by the thought of making major changes, and this doesn’t help our stress levels. 

The solution? Go for simple. You deserve a treat every day. What’s it going to be? What can you do that allows you to lower your stress, forget everything for a while and just enjoy life. It can take five minutes or an hour – it doesn’t matter. 

These will be the activities that you will look forward to every day. This means as you go through the challenges of your day, you know one or more of these simple joys is going to be there for you to help you relax and feel good, even if it’s just for a short time. 

Home Practice This Week ~ 

  • Make a list of simple things that make you happy.
  • Determine how many of these you can fit into your life.
  • Decide where they fit.
  • Schedule them into your day to make sure you get the benefits. Start with one.

You can do this. Your Immunity will get stronger.  

And you will reap the benefits from all the changes you make. 

For more info on this and other natural health topics:

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