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Turn Off the Effects of Stress on Your Immune System

Stress is really about the degree of change you experience and how much it throws you out of balance.  Studies show that when stress pulls you too far off center, it affects your immune system in a negative way.  The body has a built in stress response for emergencies, which is often called “fight-or-flight.” In general, this is a good thing because it supports you when you need an adrenaline rush and cortisol boost from your adrenal glands to help you run, fight, or face an intense stressor, be it emotional or physical.

But when you think too much, you can get stuck in your thoughts, worrying about the future and replaying the past. At the same time, your adrenal stress hormones get stuck in the “on” position, producing those stress chemicals that have a negative impact on your immune system. It is this chronic stress that is the problem and the type of stress that makes you sick.

When you practice mind-body skills such as meditation, walking in nature, turning off the nightly news, knitting, or singing, to name just a few, you will learn to “turn the switch off” and your system will find balance again. Then you can easily move in and out of stress mode, benefiting from the adrenal boost when you need it and letting your system relax when you don’t.  But remember, learning to relax takes practice!

One thought on “Turn Off the Effects of Stress on Your Immune System

  1. Dear Dr Blum, I just enjoyed listening to your presentation on the Microbiome Medicine Summit and enjoyed it very much. Thank you. You were speaking about stress and the 2 systems of on and off. Can you say more about what is above.
    I do meditate and have a spiritual practice which is core to my heart and life.
    I am 67, was diagnosed with MS in 2011. Within the year before that, I had been bitten by a bat and received rabies vaccine. Stressful experiences.
    Also, at 23 years old I was kidnapped and raped. Stressful experience, that although I feel I have worked with, maybe still in cells of body.
    My digestion over all seems good, I eat primarily paleo diet, take supplements and herbs, exercise (could do more exercise, but not too bad), and live a healthy life style.
    How can I further address and/or understand the effects of the above situations on the MS diagnosis and my life in general. My ACE score is probably 3 or 4.
    Thanks so much…

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