Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) To Boost Your Immunity
- 3 mins read
- Health Conditions
- Dr. Pramod Mane
Having to stay indoors and being confined to the four walls of your room can be very tiring. Adding fuel to the fire, is the constant dose of negative information surrounding the corona virus pandemic. This can make for a very isolating experience that is detrimental to your wellbeing. During times of physical and mental hardship our body can go through enormous amounts of stress.
Did you know that this mental stress can have profound negative impact on your immune system?
Stress and immunity- How are they related?
The immune system has many components and a complex array of mechanisms that keep it working optimally. This includes a system of checks and balances, which are dependent on many chemical signals to act efficiently.
Research indicates that stress can cause some very drastic changes in our body chemistry and hormone function. These changes are most evident in the immune system. Stress in the body can cause changes in hypothalamo-pituatry adrenal axis, which has also been nick named the ‘stress axis’. This ‘axis’ is basically a cascade of hormones that control extremely important body function including immune modulation.
What happens during stress?
When we are in a life-threatening situation, this stress axis is stimulated, and can be beneficial in protecting us from any imminent danger. However, over-stimulation this stress response can lead to the de-sensitisation of our body to these hormonal changes, leading to a further uptick in the secretion of these hormones due to a sort of chemical feedback loop. This can have a very negative impact of basic bodily functions and metabolic process, particularly in immune system.
While stress can seem like an overwhelming problem with no end in sight, we have to devise strategies to cope. Over the last few decades there has been more research in to methods that we can use to cope with stress. One such method that has been gaining attention is Neuro-linguistic programming.
The solution- Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) teaches us that our use of language- both in how we interact with ourselves and the outside world- can alter the way we perceive any situation.
By consciously and prudently altering our viewpoints on real life situations, we are able to guide and rewrite neural pathways in our brains. Experts say that, through methods of NLP, we can reprogram how our bodies perceive and respond to stress.
NLP can be practiced through the help of a licensed therapist and may be used as a tool in psychotherapy sessions or by any individual at home through mindfulness techniques. NLP techniques have been successfully used to treat allergies and many other immune related disorders.
Using NLP for being more mindful!
Research has long indicated that reduced stress is strongly correlated to enhanced immune function and reduced inflammation in us, humans.
By practicing mindfulness and neuro-linguistic programming we are able to be more in tune with our mental and physical state. Through regularly practicing these calming techniques we may be able to guide our mind into a state of serenity and reduce perception of stress in our and nervous system through reduced levels of stress hormones, especially cortisol.
When our central nervous system perceives less stress, it can alter the neuro-endocrinal responses and help to regulate the ‘stress axis’ of our body. This occurs due to reduction in secretion of stress hormones and also helps regulate the other assisting chemical messengers in our body- returning them to baseline state. This baseline state of hormones is the most optimal for the proper function and regulation of our immune system and all other body functions.
Try these NLP techniques!
There are main 5 neuro-linguistic programming techniques used to re-train your mind and body:
- Dissociation- In this technique, the person tries to dissociate from hurtful emotions by imagining himself out of his body and watching oneself.
- Anchoring– This technique requires one to relate a desired emotion to a physical stimulus. Such as happiness and a tap on the shoulder. So, whenever wants to feel happy, they should tap their shoulders. Repeating the same action, can cause re-training of the mind to feel happiness.
- Content reframing- Train the mind to embrace positivity by reframing the content from anything negative to positive.
- Creating rapport- Rapport can be built by mirroring the person want to make a rapport with. This means imitating their language, posture, tone of voice and words.
- Imagery training- In this technique, the person is asked to imagine themselves doing what they desire to. this repeatedly, can actually make the person achieve it.
It’s true that for most of the world these pandemic times have been a period of increased stress. However, you needn’t feel helpless. With concerted efforts we can harness our minds and limit the effects of mental stress on your immunity and health.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming for the Treatment of Adults with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, or Depression: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines [Internet]. Ottawa (ON): Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health; 2014 Nov 3. PMID: 25473689.
Stipancic, Melita, Renner, Walter, Schütz, Peter, Dond, Renata, (2010), Effects of Neuro-Linguistic Psychotherapy on psychological difficulties and perceived quality of life. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 10 doi: 10.1080/14733140903225240.
Segerstrom SC, Miller GE. Psychological stress and the human immune system: a meta-analytic study of 30 years of inquiry. Psychol Bull. 2004 Jul;130(4):601-30. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.130.4.601. PMID: 15250815; PMCID: PMC1361287.
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