There was a time in our history that people believed that the air made us sick. Way back when, people used to run around and close windows and doors if the threat of “bad air” was high. As a species, we had no concept that our own bodies could be the cause of our bad health, or that microbes or germs were to blame for the sick and dying. These days, we know all kinds of things about how to keep ourselves healthy – but do we do them? It seems no matter how much information we actually have, following the advice is harder than it appears for a lot of people. So we’ve put together a list of five things you can start doing TODAY to begin transforming your immune system and preparing yourself for a healthier life. These things won’t change your lifestyle overnight, but they will help you change the path you may be on that isn’t as healthy as you might have hoped.
Get More Sleep
We’ve all heard that we need to get more sleep on a regular basis, but did you know that getting the right amount of sleep not only boosts your immune system, it also helps your body digest food better, allows your skin to repair and heal itself, provides opportunity for your body to process waste, and it allows your brain to download everything you learned throughout the day. So if you aren’t getting enough sleep, not only are you depriving yourself of an opportunity to improve your health, you could be making yourself dumber. And nobody wants to be dumber.
Again, this is not rocket science advice, but it is important. There is a reason that the idea of eating breakfast is ingrained in us from childhood. When our bodies are weak from sleep, we need to refuel them for the day. But eating just anything for breakfast is not the point: the point is to eat foods rich in antioxidants, proteins, and vitamins and minerals to boost your immune system and kickstart your metabolism. If you eat bowls of sugary cereal for breakfast every day, you get one point for eating breakfast; if you eat fruit and yogurt, lean proteins, and grains, you get two points for eating a breakfast that will prepare your body for the day!
Drinking water is not only good for your overall health, but it can boost your immune system exponentially. When we are dehydrated, our body starts to take water from areas of our bodies to ensure that our vital organs continue to operate properly. Sound drastic? It is. People die of dehydration all the time, but with proper and regular hydration, you can prevent your organs from becoming weakened and that will help boost your immune system. What’s more, drinking water regularly provides you with a supple complexion, allows you to eat less food (we often overeat because we think we are hungry when we are really just thirsty) and it will allow your brain to function at a fuller capacity.
Smile and Laugh
If you are prone to depression or anxiety you might find it difficult to let yourself loosen up a bit to enjoy yourself. With so much going on in your world, allowing yourself to enjoy a moment to laugh and smile might seem like a chore. But research has shown time and time again that laughter and smiling, especially in groups of people, can actually provide with you an immune system boost. We all know that if we feel like we are alone, we are more likely to get sick and feel under the weather on a regular basis. So spending time with even just one more person regularly can help you beat those blues and make you feel better. Caregivers often have a hard time finding pleasure in their day when they are responsible for another person on a regular basis. They often have poor immune systems from being run down, but organizations like CDPAP can provide relief and allow caregivers to get to feeling like themselves again.
Even if you feel like there is nothing good in your life, you can at least be thankful for the air you breathe, the sun that shines, and the bed you sleep in. Practicing gratitude is something you can start today and continue with for the rest of your life…or just when you need a pick me up. Gratitude will create a stir in your brain that reminds you that things are better than they seem, and as a result, your immune system can receive a boost of dopamine which is the feel good hormone that makes you feel better.
So if you feel like your could use a makeover to restart your life, but you don’t have a lot of time or resources to make that happen, consider adding even one of these five things to your routine today to improve your immune system now and in the future. Rather than worry about what’s outside of us that could hurt us, we should be focusing inward and paying attention to what we can do to ward off those threats from the inside, out.
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