According to Gawler (1996), the body and mind are essential in the normal functioning of the human well-being. There is a specific connection between the status of the mind and the status of the body health. The body, mind and brain are linked by the immune system. A correct operating immune system defends the body from sickness and when the immune system stops working, one gets ill. The mind-body connection therefore affects the immune system.
One major role of the immune system is to defend one's body from viruses and illnesses. It carries out this distinguishing self from non-self cells. Non-self cells can be from the exterior, which include parasites, virus, fungi and microorganisms. They can also be unusual cells from our bodies. They are usually referred to as antigens.
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Emotional and physical strain causes stress due to one's reaction to the demands of the surroundings. Most commonly when a person's environmental needs go beyond his ability to cope, stress is formed. In general, stress means two different things. One is the state that generates physical and emotional responses. Second is the responses themselves. One's body reacts to stress through what is referred to as the General Adaption Syndrome or GAS. It happens in three different stages which are alarm, resistance and exhaustion. The main common form of alarm stage is the fight response (Andrew, 2003). When one's brain recognizes something as frightening or tough, it indicates an alarm and a sequence of actions happen in the body. They include fast breathing, increased metabolism rate, high heart rate, alertness, and muscle reaction. The events get the body physically prepared to face a threat or get away from it. The system of the body goes back to normal but remains alert at the time of resistance. Due to resistance, the body goes into exhaustion a stage at which it cannot defy the stressor any more. Exhaustion gives room for the body to heal from stress.
The immune system is affected by stress in a very great way. Stress is categorized by two different kinds. There exists acute which is short term and chronic which is a long-term stress. Acute stress lasts for some minutes to a week and improves immunity in many cases. Chronic stress comes because of lasting stressor that goes on for one or some years. It has no specific ending point. It could also be as an outcome of collective outcome of extended serial instances of acute stressors. The stress is not healthy and affects one's body. It can hold back immunity and results into sickness (Gawler, 1996).
The thoughts and emotions such as anger, fear, anxiety, sadness, feeling overwhelmed and pessimism also have bad effects on the health of our bodies just like stress. Therefore when we talk of stress and the effects, we also mean those negative feelings as well. Each individual responds to a stressor in his or her own way (Gordon, 2009). Several individuals have most thoughtful responses when encountered with stress than others. The ones who easily get physically and psychologically affected are referred to as high reactors. They are practically more affected by stress than those who are low reactors.
The hormones and biochemicals are the essential player in communication between the brain and the immune system. They are produced by hypothalamus pituitary gland and adrenal glands usually called hypothalamic -pituitary -adrenortical axis. The HPA operates between the brain and the immune system. The communication goes both ways. Once the HPA is made activate by the alarm sent by the brain, several biochemical and hormones are created. Majority of them are concealed by adrenal glands. The adrenal glands include the peptides and the glucocorticoids catecholamines. Their role is to fight reaction and to train our bodies to survive a risk especially when we face a stressor.
Cortisol is produced by the adrenals and it contains immunomodulatory effects (Andrew, 2003). It is given post surgically to restrain the immune system and avoid refusal of transplanted tissues. At normal stages, it is important for the correct performance of the immune system. The finest concentration of it is essential for normal recovery from illness. At usual points of cortisol our immune system is stimmulated and this is how it gets turned on. The level of cortisol rises and locks up the immune system once the immune reaction is no longer required. Contrary, if the cortisol level is low, the immune system continues to work. Therefore the cortisol influences the immune system in three ways basing on its concentration in the body. One way is that low concentration causes the immune system to continue operating even if not required and this result into autoimmune inflammation disease like rheumatoid arthritis. Finest concentration stimulates the immune system and it operates properly. The other way is where the high concentration locks up the immune system. This is good since we overcome infections and the immune system is no longer required to be on high alert but bad when it occurs outside of this state.
Several researchers have confirmed that stress leads cortisol levels to increase and that is why is referred to as a stress hormone. When it comes to acute stress, the increase is temporary but in chronic stress, it continues and causes immune system restraint which enhances our vulnerability to disease. The work of the immune system can be considered by quantitative analysis and so can the level of cortisol. The association between cortisol, immune system and its effects on general health was recognized by the researchers. Various viruses live in our bodies but do not cause any signs of the illness. They are referred to as latent or dormant viruses. According to studies, persons encountering stress are considerably more likely to experience a start of these dormant viruses which finally arises and leads to diseases. Examples of the latent viruses include Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), herpes zoster virus and herpes virus (HV). Researchers have discovered that consistently high cortisol levels just before or at the start of the viruses verifies that high cortisol levels restrains the immune system and permits latent viruses to cause diseases. Chronic life stress changes neuroendocrime, resistant and sympathetic reaction to an acute psychological stressor in our bodies.
According to certain studies, the levels of EBV were calculated in a population with chronic stress in comparison with that of a normal population. The EBV levels were considerably high in the chronic stress group which also had lesser quantity of T-lymphocyte and the lymphocytes' capacity to develop was greatly reduced. In other studies, frequency of acute transmittable respiratory sickness was evaluated between the group that was exposed to chronic stress and the group that did not encounter stress. It indicated that stress was connected with the enlarged risk of disease and the connection was dose-related meaning the more stress the more possibility of sickness. Basing on the studies, the influences of long term joblessness as a chronic stressor was observed. The jobless group had extensively lower capacity of natural killer cells to counterbalance antigens as compared to that of people with jobs. After several members of the jobless achieved employment, they proved a recovery in their natural killer cell as compared to their own time of unemployment. Resistant function turns down with lack of employment and recovers after stressor disappearance (Gawler, 1996).
However, people can be able to manage their lives through life couching which is aimed at assisting them to enhance their attitude, obtain the support they require and support morals with targets. The level of stress can considerably be lowered and health improved through life coaching. Life coaching is an association between the client and the coach and therefore clients have a constant encouraging and helpful connection. The bond is crucial in lessening stress in life as clients or victims come to realize that they are no longer lonely in their day to day tests and troubles. The awareness gives them the power to carry on with their lives. Life coach also turns out to be the wise confidante of the victim. Researchers assert those individuals who have one person they can speak to tend to live longer. It is does not need to be a health care professional but once you speak to someone about your emotional baggage, it can assist to ease your physical pain too. It is therefore very crucial to fit into ones life events and people that one likes so as to enhance life and reduce stress. Life trainers assist victims to align their own aims with values. Through distinguishing, integrating and prioritizing aims and values related to events and people that bring joy, delight and fulfillment to their client's life, life trainers assist clients to obtain better life stability. They also build up a positive sensible and hopeful approach which will advance the immune system function. Through consuming the life coaching method of reframing, clients can be assisted to expand more positive attitude towards many life procedures and advance their general health.
Basing on the researchers investigations, extended negative tendency and chronic stress harmfully change our immune system and through it we become prone to diseases. The destruction of the stressor boosts the operation of immune system and positively changes our general health (Andrew, 2003).