On a given day, your body is exposed to literally countless microorganisms that could cause an illness. The exact number isn’t known, estimates are routinely given; what’s important to note here is that pathogen ingestion and exposure doesn’t always involve infection. It’s possible for you to be exposed to virulent strains of the flu a hundred times a year. You may ingest them, and they may pass through your body as waste. Why do you only get sick at certain points during the year? Why don’t you always get sick when your body is exposed, and even ingests, such organisms? The answer is your immune system.
Keeping Your Immune System Strong
Your immune system encounters endless pathogens and fights them off with effectiveness and what passes for aplomb in the world of microorganisms. So long as you eat right, exercise regularly (but not too much; it is possible to over-extend yourself), and maintain your stress at levels which aren’t dangerous, you’re in good shape. Remember there is more than one type of stress. Good stress motivates you. You may have stress in waking from a comfortable dream only to go into work. Well, that’s good stress. You may have stress on the treadmill at the gym–again, that’s good stress. Bad stress is working out too much, or being awoken with a gun in your face, or getting fired. There seems to be a gray area between the two, however. Or at least, an event horizon. Good stress can become bad stress if it’s not handled correctly, which ultimately means a factor in maintaining your immune system is the attitude with which you approach life.
Depressed people are more susceptible to illness. There are other emotional conditions which can likewise increase or decrease the power of your body’s immune system. In fact, any emotional state taken out of reason can induce negative stress. You may be in love with a girl, but find out she loves another man. Now the good stress which hides in the possibility of meeting is subsumed by the bad stress of knowing you’re not good enough. Getting through this requires a perspective check.
These may sound like esoteric means of preventing the flu, but they’re actually not. The works of George MacDonald emphasized this trend in the 1800s before the science was there to back it up. Routinely in his Victorian-era Kailyard yarns, protagonists would become ill after doing something horrible and shrinking from the consequences into depression. MacDonald saw this often as a preacher, and wrote about it. Science has confirmed that mental state can reduce the power of your immune system.
The Three Primary Flu Fighting Steps
They were already mentioned earlier, but:
- Eat Healthy
- Exercise Regularly
- Maintain Your Mental Health
In the food world, avoid processed foods heavy with preservatives. Avoid “enriched” flour. Avoid “natural” flavors. Avoid artificial sweeteners. Eat as naturally as possible as much as you’re able, and get the right vitamins and minerals; like Vitamin C and D. Ensure you regularly have several cups of water. Eight glasses eight ounces in size are recommendable throughout a day.
Add to that diet healthy exercise where you sweat for a little while at least three times a week. It may take a while to build up to; but diet and exercise combine to increase the positivity of your mental health. Even so, life deals depressive blows left and right. Be on your guard to meter your perspective and reaction even in situations where you’re justified in sorrow or anger. Truly taking the high road preserves your immune system.