Support Your Immune System: 7 Things We Can Do for Ourselves and Others

Support Your Immune System: 7 Things We Can Do for Ourselves and Others

Support Your Immune System: 7 Things We Can Do for Ourselves and Others

By Angie Parris-Raney, LMT, Chopra Center Certified

Technology has certainly put us in touch with important information on preventive measures for spreading the COVID-19 virus, such as washing our hands and avoiding contact with those who are sick. However, much of the information is ignoring an essential part to staying healthy—boosting our immune system.

 There is a part of our nervous system that hasn’t evolved far from our ancestors called the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Its purpose is for primal survival, equipping our mind/body to react to danger. When we are charged to respond to a stressor or danger, we are flooded with stress hormones. Our digestion shuts down, and we increase blood and oxygen to the heart, brain, and lungs to flee. Blood pressure rises and breathing becomes shallow. This is called the sympathetic part of the ANS, commonly known as the fight-or-flight response. Feeding the fear loop stimulates the fight-or-flight response and is known to suppress the immune system. Stress over time can begin shutting down other systems of the body.

Thankfully, there is another part to the ANS called the parasympathetic system, known as the rest-and-digest response. The largest cranial nerve of the body, the vagus nerve, innervates from the brain stem to the chest and abdomen. When we stimulate the vagus nerve, we tap into the rest-and-digest response. The heart rate decreases, blood pressure normalizes, breathing is deeper, stress hormones are reduced, and happy hormone production is initiated (promoting sleep, focus, and happier emotions). There are simple methods and lifestyle choices we can make to support our own immunity. We can consciously pull ourselves out of a state of reaction, take back our own power, and ask ourselves what our mind/body needs in this moment to support rest-and-digest.

If you’d like to read “the rest of the story”, please click here BS Spring 2020