How Your Mental Health Affects Your Immune System
Your mental health affects much more than just your mood. Depression, anxiety, and stress disorders among other emotional struggles can take a toll on your physical health. There is a definite mind-body connection with regard to health and wellness.
Here are three ways that your mental health can affect your immune system as well as solutions to improve your physical and emotional health.
1. Problem: Depression can weaken your immune system.
When your immune system is not functioning at full capacity, you are at a heightened risk for disease and infection. You may be more susceptible to catching colds or developing cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases.
In some circumstances, depression can not only lead to a weakened immune system, but it can also lower the effectiveness of vaccinations.
Solution: Find healthy methods of managing stress.
Set up daily routines to help you avoid the negative effects of stress and problems in your life. Allow yourself time in the morning or after work to meditate. Enjoy a long conversation with a close friend or family member. Relax in the evening with a good book and a cup of tea. Tea is especially beneficial and healthy;chamomile tea is an excellent evening remedy.
2. Problem: Mental health can cause you to feel fatigued.
Issues with mental health can lead to increased physical and emotional fatigue on top of a weakened immune system.
This can easily become a vicious cycle. Stress and depression can lead to problems with sleep and a lack of energy which, in turn, make it harder to manage your mental health throughout the day.
Solution: Take steps to improve your quality of sleep.
Establish healthy practices to ensure that you get the best night’s sleep possible. This can include cutting out coffee and caffeinated beverages before bed or even after lunch, limiting your time on electronics in the evening, and setting up a consistent sleeping and waking schedule. Blue light from LED screens is especially detrimental to sleep. Either don’t watch TV and/or read screens at night or use blue light blocking glasses.
These healthy practices can help you to feel more awake and energized during your day which can help to prevent fatigue-related depression.
3. Problem: Stress can make you more vulnerable to unhealthy habits.
When you are plagued by stress, it becomes much easier to give in to negative practices. Many men and women who struggle with depression and stress disorders have exhibited higher tendencies to smoke and engage in unhealthy eating habits.
Solution: Kick the unhealthy habits to the curb.
We know that this is easier said than done, but setting up healthy routines can help you to fight unhealthy habits.
If you have problems with stress eating, prepare balanced meals and snacks in advance. Not only will preparing your meals ahead of schedule help you to avoid overindulging in calorie-laden foods, but it will also cut out one extra step during a busy workday. If you do snack, also drink a glass of water; this is healthy and will also fill you up.
Cutting out cigarettes can be even harder, but your health and well-being are worth the effort. Seek the encouragement of friends and family, and if necessary, consult with your doctor to help quit smoking. Occasionally medication is necessary to quit.
You don’t have to deal with your mental health alone. If you are having difficulty managing stress and depression, talking to a doctor can help. Follow these simple solutions, and seek the advice of a medical professional to promote a healthier state of mind. Remember, at least one in four Americans suffers from a mental health disorder; you are not alone.
We at The Well Theory believe in the Four M’s of Living Well. For a life lived well, it is important to maintain a healthy body, manage stress for a healthy mind, strengthen the relationships that are most important to you, and produce meaningful, satisfying work.
For more information on cultivating both physical health and emotional wellness, visit our website today to learn more about The Well Theory!
Dr. Meredith Warner is the creator of Well Theory and The Healing Sole. She is a board-certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Air Force Veteran.
She is on a mission to disrupt traditional medicine practices and promote betterment physically, spiritually and mentally to many more people. She advocates for wellness and functional health over big pharma so more people can age vibrantly with more function and less pain.
At Well Theory, Our surgeon-designed products are FDA Registered and formulated to help people:
- Manage the symptoms of musculoskeletal pain
- Recover vibrantly from orthopedic related surgeries
- Fill the gaps in our daily diets
- Manage pain associated with inflammation
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