How Mental Health Affects Your Immune System
When you are focusing on your immune system, you may think the only factors are diet and exercise. Though these can be huge factors in how your immune system handles issues in the body, they are not the only things to change. You also need to focus on your mental and emotional health as well. If you do not see the connection between these two aspects must your immune system, consider the following ways that your mental health can affect you.
One of the leading ways that mental health can affect your immune system is through anxiety symptoms. The symptoms of anxiety, such as fatigue, can lead your body to mimic the symptoms of a cold or flu. That sends your immune system into overdrive. This means that it is focusing on what it believes to be a cold or flu instead of other issues in the body. When a real issue occurs, the immune system is broken down from focusing on the false cold that your body is triggering due to anxiety.
When you have mental health issues from depression and anxiety, you may start to notice issues such as body fatigue. This body fatigue can lead to issues of inflammation and swelling in your muscles and joints. This is usually due to the body becoming tired and then reacting by not wanting to move as much or just feeling drained. The inflammation can lead directly to your immune system trying to counteract the inflammation and pain caused by that inflammation. This overload on your immune system as it tries to counteract the inflammation can cause the system to be fatigued and reduce ineffectiveness.
When you have mental health issues, you may find yourself sleeping a lot. This is likely due to depression and the effect that depression has on your body. Even though you are sleeping a lot, you may still feel tired. This is because the sleep you are getting is not deep sleep and is therefore not restful. Your body is not getting the rejuvenation it normally would from sleep. That means your digestive system, immune system, and other systems of your body are not resting either. When it does come time for your immune system it will be too fatigued to do any good, thus leading to increased illness.
Mental health issues such as anxiety and tension can lead to having your body tense all the time. This leads to migraines, tension headaches, lack of sleep, and the feeling of aches and pains throughout the day. As you start having multiple symptoms from the constant tension, your body will try to react. This reduces the effectiveness of your immune system and overall makes illness more likely.
These are only a few of the ways that your mental health can have a direct effect on your physical health and directly on your immune system. By taking on some daily habits focused on giving you better mental health, you can counteract the issues with your immune system and help it to function in a more stable manner.