Washing your hands and sneezing into a hankie are obvious ways to protect your immune system. But did you know though that there are lots of things you do every single day which could be damaging your immunity?
1. Not looking on the bright side
Your response to negative situations can affect your immune system. If you tend to look for the risks and worries in a situation, try thinking like an optimist. Pessimists are more stressed which can impact aspects of your immune system. What can you be grateful and happy about today?
2. Keeping emotions bottled up
People who keep negative emotions to themselves tend to be sicker, more often. This is because bottling up emotion can cause surges in blood pressure, white blood cells, and heart rate. Share your problems, voice your frustrations, and learn how to air your differences with loved ones.
3. Piling on the stress
Some stresses are worse for our immune system than others. Everyday stress - called chronic stress - is bad for your health. If you are constantly worried about finances, work, relationships, and other daily pressures, it's time to look after your health. Chronic stress impacts your immune system and ability to recover from illness. It's time to find ways to relieve stress in a healthy way.
4. Avoiding outdoor exercise
Busy days and dark evenings can mean it's hard to get outside for exercise. But it's an important part of keeping your immune system healthy as exercise and activity keep white blood cells moving around your circulatory system. Getting outside for any kind of activity will also expose you to local bugs, germs, and irritants, making your system more robust. You’ll be feeling happier, healthier, and fitter.
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5. Taking life too seriously
Parenting, running a household, studying, and progressing in your career are all serious things but you don’t have to take everything so seriously. Lighten up a little and do your immune system a favour. Laughing and smiling decrease damaging stress hormones which in turn helps give your immune system a boost. Do something that really makes you laugh every day - and share it with a friend if you can.
6. Not getting enough sleep
Poor quality sleep (or not enough sleep) has a huge effect on immune system health. There's only so long you can burn the candle at both ends. Lack of sleep is linked to lower immune system function and fewer germ-fighting cells in the body. Make sure your bedroom is set up to invite 7-8 hours’ sleep, wind down before bed, and resist the urge to take your phone or tablet computer with you. It's time to sleep.
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