Fear and the immune system
Our emotions change the way that our bodies work! I have observed many people overcome enormous physical barriers by addressing and creating changes in their emotional wellbeing.
The immune system (the body’s built-in line of defence after the skin and mucus barriers) is an incredibly complicated chemical and cell reaction within your body there to protect you from unfamiliar material (such as fungus, bacteria, virus etc.) Lots of different cells in your blood, mucus, saliva and other body fluids work around the clock to recognise unfamiliar material, identify it, alert the body and hopefully destroy it! The cells also often make a blueprint of this response and store it in the body so that if the same invader comes again, the body has a much quicker and co-ordinated reaction – amazing and intelligent!
Fear is a very powerful emotion; one that has motivated us since the dawn of time to run away, fight predators, and overcome physical threats so that we can procreate and feed successfully. Usually these fears were short lived; either we succeeded, or we didn’t. In the 21st century, however, we face a different type of fear – a much more long-term, anxious, worrying fear.
The impact of fear on the immune system
We now rarely deal with true life-or-death physical threats; we deal much more regularly, however, with constant low to moderate level stresses, which often don’t have a direct end or conclusion. No matter what the stress, this fear reaction triggers a very powerful cascade of chemicals, which among many other things tend to directly slow the immune reactions – not ideal!
Why is that? It seems on the surface to be a very counter-intuitive reaction from our body, but here is an example that will highlight why this happens. Imagine that you were in a tent in the African savannah suffering from a bacterial infection and upset stomach. You hear the growl of a lion just outside. In this instant your brain has to make the snap decision about which is the greater threat to your continued existence – the infection or the lion! It will do you no good if your immune system conquers the bacteria at the expense of being eaten by the lion. Your body in this instance halts the immune response in favour of mobilising all energy to run away from the threat. Of course this is a very extreme example, but there is mounting research to show that chronic stress, fear in particular, limits our immune response.
Present day stress
During this time of increased fear and anxiety, it will be of huge benefit to your immune system and health to take precautions, but also to endeavour to live with love and happiness as opposed to fear. The external situation will be the same either way, but your health could be drastically different… something to think about.
I have taken a lot of this information from: “Biology of Belief” by Dr. Bruce Lipton, and if this information interests you his website is: www.brucelipton.com