Do you also think that this fast-paced college life has affected you? Not just physically, but mentally too. As we all are in university, sometimes things might get overwhelming for us, which in turn brings stress from a variety of sources. But did you know that our stress not only affects our mental state but also impacts our immune system? Stress and the immune system have a complex relationship.
The immune system plays an essential role in protecting our body from pathogens, disease-causing microorganisms. Biologically speaking (according to WHO), stress leads to the activation of several systems like sympathetic nervous system and hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal system. This activation leads to the elevation of hormones like cortisol and catecholamines (adrenaline and nor-adrenaline). This further results in a decrease in the WBC level that fights infections. So, during stress, you might be more susceptible to contracting pathogens like viruses. Did you notice that often you come down with common cold and cold sores during the exam season?
Chronic stress can lead to cardiovascular problems like a fast heart rate. As stress causes inflammation, if one experiences long-term stress then they may develop diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, psoriasis, and many more.
So far, we have discussed the effects of stress on our immune system. But don’t worry, there are ways that will help you to cope with this stress and do your immune system a favor.
The very first thing that you can do is get physically active. While doing any physical activity, our body releases endorphins which provide a cheerful feeling and a sense of well-being. So don’t shy away, improve your mood by exercising, doing yoga, swimming, running, dancing, weight-lifting, walking, jogging, or any activity that gets your body active.
In addition to this, try out healthy diets and avoid caffeine and other substances that may harm your body. You can also have your comfort food with some feel-good shows to relieve your stress for the time being.
Another method that you can try is to connect with others. Reach out to your friends and family instead of isolating yourself, or you can also contact LPU’s Happiness and Wellness Centre which will surely help you out. Sometimes all you need is someone who listens and believes you, making social contact an amazing stress buster.
Due to stress, you might have trouble sleeping so try to get enough sleep. Sleep is important for recharging your body and mind. Also, you can use deep breathing exercises. Engage yourself in various events and surround yourself with people who make you happy.