Monday, 9 November 2020

"You'll make yourself ill..."

 Have you known someone who was so stressed out that you said to them something like "you need to relax or you'll make yourself ill"?

Many a loving and well meaning person has issued this type of warning to a stressed out friend or family member, but perhaps they've not realised quite how scientifically accurate they were actually being?

Back in the 1970's a Dr Ader make a breakthrough in research which provided an insight into this already obvious, well-meant warning. Then in 1991 further studies concluded (something perhaps we all suspected) that there is a direct and replicable relationship between stress and infections such as colds and flu.

Dr Ader demonstrated scientifically that stress worsens severity of illness, sometimes even triggering it. There is a relatively new field of research which is known as PNI or Psychoneuroimmunology which looks at the interaction between psychological processes (how you think) and the nervous and immune systems in the body. In short, it looks at the effects of how you think on your health and general resistance to disease. So basically if a person is very stressed and has negative feelings, this can cause a physical change in the body.

Some people may say "well no surprises there then" however it's amazing how we seem to ignore this previously assumed, and now scientifically proven fact - we carry on with our stressful lives and more people than ever before are being diagnosed with depression and anxiety. It would seem us humans are literally making ourselves sick!

This mind/body immunity link is now more relevant than ever in these times with a global pandemic. It is already being shown that those people who have weakened immune systems (through disease or vulnerability) are less able to fight the virus so it should be a warning sign to us all that we might be inadvertently weakening our otherwise strong immune systems, purely with the way we are thinking. One could argue it's more difficult to remain positive with news of crashing economies, job losses and family break ups and these things should not be "brushed under the carpet" as not important. these things might just be the key to humanities long term immunity over this, and other viruses in the future. Whether you believe in vaccination or not, it's clear there ARE things we can do to help ourselves beyond relying on medicine; and that means all taking a look at our mental health, with just as much effort as we do the physical. Really they are one and the same.

The good news? Even if you should find yourself testing positive with Covid (or other) viruses this winter, if you focus on keeping your mental processes healthy, you have a much better chance of full recovery and as a result, a much stronger immune system. How can do you this? There are many ways, but keeping stress to a minimum and practicing relaxation/meditation techniques, getting good levels of exercise (preferably outdoors), and doing as much as you can to connect with people who can help you relieve stress, will all help boost your body natural immune defences.

Hypnotherapy is also a wonderful way to overcome anxiety, low mood and relieve stress. If you would like to know more, please drop me an email at: