Support Your Immunity While Going Through An Emotional Mishap

  • 3 mins read
  • Wellbeing
  • Relationships
  • Dr. Jatin Bhide

Emotions form a major part of our lives. All of us feel and experience a different set of emotions – negative and positive every day.

For some, feeling these emotions can seem like a roller-coaster ride. Often these include guilt, sadness, frustration, anger, and low self-worth.

The ‘ANTs’ keep troubling

Every time you have a sad or unkind thought, your brain will pump out chemicals that make you feel bad. It is obvious that if you want to feel better, you need to fill your mind with hopeful thoughts. But most of us have no control over them. They come up automatically and are overwhelmingly negative. These Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) infest your brain and can steal your mental peace. The more the ‘ANTs’ stick into your head, the more you’re likely to feel angry, depressed, or anxious. This continuous chain of negative emotions can dampen your immunity.

Negativity drops your guard

When you’re emotionally vulnerable, you subject yourself to stress, and that’s where you affect your immunity. Your body releases the hormone cortisol that affects the immune system. This plays havoc and slows your defense mechanism, making you prone to infections.

TEARS of hope

Negative bias can create chronic stress that becomes counterproductive for your immune function.

Here are 5 simple ways through which you can enhance your immunity while overcoming negative thoughts:

  • Try to be reasonable: Accept that certain situations are unavoidable, some misunderstandings cannot be resolved, and that’s fine. This will make you less stressed and help maintain a healthy immune function.
  • ExerciseAerobic activity helps you cope better with negative emotions by increasing a hormone called serotonin. This helps reduce chemicals in your immune system that can worsen depression.
  • Accept your emotionsThe magic of acceptance is in its effect of blunting emotional outbursts to stressful events. This involves trying not to change a feeling that you are going through. Accepting a negative emotion reduces cortisol, regains your emotional balance, and maintains immunity.
  • RelaxThis is a great way to enhance your immunity by reducing stress hormones. Use pleasant activities like meditation, yoga, focused breathing, walking, or reading to ease a troubled mind. Some people also turn to their faith and prayersto soothe their minds and souls.
  • Seek Support: Social support is a formula where one size doesn’t fit all. It’s ok if you do not have one person in whom you can confide everything. Look at different relations for different kinds of support. Confide in people who can be trusted. This form of support  helps boost immune response & enhances resistance towards diseases.

Challenge your negativity with rationale. Honest thinking is a powerful tool that can enhance your immunity while improving your psychological health for a better life.

References:

  1. What is emotion regulation and how do we do it? Available from: http://www.selfinjury.bctr.cornell.edu/perch/resources/what-is-emotion-regulationsinfo-brief.pdf
  2. Healing and the Mind: Emotions and the Immune System. Available from: https://www.simmsmanncenter.ucla.edu/center_events/healing-and-the-mind-emotions-and-the-immune-system/
  3. Negative emotions. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/negative-emotions/.
  4. Breines JG, et al. Self-compassion as a predictor of interleukin-6 response to acute psychosocial stress. Brain Behav Immun. 2014;37:109–114.
  5. Exercise and mood. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/exercise-and-mood/
  6. Shallcross AJ, et al. Let it be: Accepting negative emotional experiences predicts decreased negative affect and depressive symptoms. Behav Res Ther. 2010;48(9):921–9.
  7. Manage stress: Strengthen your support network. Available from: https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/manage-social-support/
  8. Abdurachman, et al. The role of psychological well being in boosting immune response: An optimal effort for tackling infection. Afr J Infect Dis. 2018;12(1 Suppl): 54–61.

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