Intentional ImmunityHealth & Wellness
According to Merriam-Webster, stress is defined as “a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life.” Stress can arise in many ways, whether it is minor stress due to a problem at work, or through something more complex like a natural disaster (just as we have recently endured in South Florida with hurricane Irma!)
When we consider all of the environmental, physical, and emotional threats that we face on a daily basis, it is no surprise that some of us fall pray to various illnesses. With school season back in swing and Summer sunshine slowly fading away, we wanted to share some of our favorite ways to stay strong and intentionally immune.
Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, tubers, and legumes… All of the above are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phyto-chemicals which provide an abundance of nutrients for your body. A body that isn’t starving for this vital food has the chance for a more optimized immune system.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates
Physical activity should be fun! Experienced daily, and innovative ways. Movement practice should be the cornerstone to any daily ritual. Feeling off? Or stuck? Shake it out! How about weak? Or down and out? Stretching should be practiced like stop-drop-and roll. Exercise can help reduce the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that act as the body’s natural pain reliever and mood elevator. Be mindful not to exercise in extreme weather conditions or when your are already exhausted or beginning to feel sick. This will put more stress on your body and will have counterproductive results, in these scenarios take rest and resume when feeling better.
Time in Nature
Having a conscious connection to the earth is paramount for a healthy lifestyle. Grounding can help regulate our bodies natural systems. Connection with the earth allows us to physically recycle energy and even communicate more clearly with our own intelligent network. When weather permits, experience the great outdoors in whatever capacity you are able to! Natural exposure to vitamin D and earthing can help to improve immune function, digestion, sleep, physical healing from injuries, blood circulation, stabilization of the body’s basic biological rhythms, and reduce inflammation, stress, anxiety, and electro-sensitivity.
*Please be sure to protect from overexposure to the sun or excessive heat. This will only put more stress on the body.*
Beyond the rise of Lululemon and trendsetting yoga brands, there is truly an amazing thing happening with the rise of yoga in the West. The opportunity to explore this spiritual practice and ancient discipline is a gift for the collective consciousness. Asanas (posture/position) and Kriya’s (meditation technique) provide more support towards a comprehensive spiritual path.
- Both practices promote good health through toning the organs, increasing flexibility, increasing muscle strength and tone, improve respiration, energy and vitality, balance metabolism and attune awareness, relaxation and concentration.
Being that the body repairs itself while you are asleep, it is recommended for an adult to average 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Reference the helpful chart below to see the appropriate range for other age ranges. Remember that every night of rest is critical for long-term health and well-being.
DID YOU KNOW:
1️⃣ Man is the only mammal that willingly delays sleep.
2️⃣ Sleep is just as important as diet and exercise.
3️⃣ People who don’t get enough sleep have lower levels of Leptin (appetite regulating hormone) and are more likely to over eat and gain unhealthy weight.
4️⃣ Pain tolerance is reduced by sleep deprivation.
5️⃣ Being awake for 16 hours straight decreases performance as much as if your blood alcohol level were 0.05%
6️⃣ Sleeping less than 7 hours a night reduces your life expectancy.
7️⃣ Memories take better hold during sleep.
8️⃣ You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching TV.
9️⃣ The bulk of our repairing and digestion takes place while we are sleeping.
🔟 Those who lack adequate sleep have higher levels of stress and difficulty managing emotions.
Similar to sleep, meditation balances, repairs, and heals the body in a number of similar ways. Some benefits include the release of healing, growing and rejuvenating hormones such as DHEA, melatonin and serotonin. Moreover, the healthiest brainwaves (alpha, theta, and delta) are similarly stimulated during both meditation & sleep. Activating these brainwaves can help naturally reduce your stress and anxiety that would be more closely related to beta waves. Overall, meditation induces relaxation and sets off a powerful chain reaction! As the compound nitric oxide increases within our system, it causes blood vessels to open up, and subsequently, blood pressure to drop, improves our concentration, and boosts immunity.
“These naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. In addition to their intrinsic benefits to plants and their beautiful fragrance, essential oils have long been used for food preparation, beauty treatment, and health-care practices.” – doTERRA Essential Oils
When exploring the realm of essential oils, be sure to have an ally that can guide you along your journey. If used properly, essential oils can benefit your physical and emotional wellbeing, while also working as powerful cleaning agents around the household or office.
You do not have to be an artist to enjoy the benefits of art therapy! Design a postcard, create a collage or vision board, build an altar, draw in the dark, get messy with watercolor, produce a permission slip, explore hieroglyphics, try coloring books (especially those with mandalas), or even give a try at finger-painting to let your inner child flow freely! Sound healing sessions, also known as sound baths, are another avenue to explore. Check out your local yoga studio, metaphysical shop, or research online to find these types of offerings in your area!
Herbs can be utilized on a daily basis but are definitely helpful when it comes to immune boosting and healing. When targeting immunity, we particularly think of adrenal support and stress relief. Thankfully there are many prepackaged and thoughtfully crafted blends by companies such as Yogi Tea, Gaia Herbs, Numi, and Alvita Organics which are all trustworthy brands.
We suggesting having a micronutrient test done to determine what nutrients your body lacks. This way, you can consciously add them into your daily routine. Naturally occurring vitamin C, oregano oil, ashwagandha, echinacea, probiotics, elderberry, ginger and colloidal silver are some of your mega immune system boosters.
It is amazing how remembering to be grateful can positively shift perspective and reduce stress. Take action by either starting your day with 3 things you are grateful for, or ending your day with a list that you write down in a journal. Weaving a gratitude practice into your daily routine can only benefit because this is exactly what will help you manifest and attract more of that goodness into your life! It is not that we want to forget about the negative, there is space for “shadow dancing” as well, but it is certainly recommended to focus on what inspires you greatly. Create time for those you love, commit to activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul!
Do you have any unresolved relationship tension that is causing stress? Are you holding a grudge? Perhaps it’s time to deal with these situations and move on. Trying to avoid relationship challenges is usually more draining long-term than having that difficult but needed conversation now.
“When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.” Bernard Meltzer
- Don’t worry “…about a thing. ‘Cause every little thing, is gonna be alright.” – Bob Marley
Worrying is stressful. It drains our life force energy, creativity and resilience. We all worry; the key is not getting stuck there. Remember everything is temporary, focus on the solution at hand, or accept the circumstances. Some things are what they are and worrying about them only make things worse and cloud possible solutions.
Given all these helpful tools, we see how there are many avenues in which we can navigate through this path of wellness. In the modern world, media has the ability to interfere with our mental health and effect stress levels. The majority of information that is broadcasted equates to the everyday pressures we feel through economic and social struggles. In addition to mental fatigue, we also face physical stress due to constant exposure to free radicals, poor eating habits, and a lack of time in nature.
Through self-care we can antidote stress and boost the immune system.
The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to defend the body against attacks by “foreign” invaders.
The hormones produced by your adrenal glands, in conjunction with the stress hormone cortisol, play an important role in regulating your immune system. If your cortisol levels are too low or too high, this can lead to infections, chronic inflammation, autoimmune diseases or allergies. Maintaining a balanced level of cortisol is an important part of staying healthy.
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