4 Reasons You Are Getting Sick Way More Often Than You Should
By Jenna Barrington
You have an incredible body.
Not only is it built with a heart that beats for decades, a skeletal system that can heal and regrow itself, a mind so complex that we don’t even fully understand how it works and emotions and hormones that help you experience life to the fullest… but you also have a powerful immune system that’s sole purpose is to strengthen and protect you from illness and disease.
Despite all this, however, you may still sometimes get sick. But are you getting sick every other month? Or more often? Are you getting sick despite constantly washing your hands and eating well and exercising?
There are many factors that can contribute to you getting ill.
When you get sick, ask yourself which of these (or if several of them) may be the problem. If you find your answer here, take it as good news! These are ALL things that YOU have control over.
You can make changes in each of these areas in order to strengthen your immune system and keep from getting sick.
Modern society has put many of us in a state of chronic stress. Stress is a natural response that your body has to challenges and threats. It causes physiological changes in the body, such as:
- Heart rate increases
- Blood pressure rises
- Senses become more acute
- Sweating may increase
- Muscle tension increases
- Digestion slows
These effects are meant to be short term and last only as long as the “danger” or challenge. The problem is that a lot of us are living each day moving from one stressor to another, or are living under deadlines and expectations that put us in a constant state of stress.
This constant stress causes your immune system to suffer and eventually colds and other bacteria and/or viruses can slip in unnoticed and cause you grief.
According to Dr. Mercola,
“Stress has a major influence on the function of your immune system, which is why you’ve probably noticed you’re more likely to catch a cold when you’re under a lot of stress.
“This is true for both acutely stressful episodes, such as preparing a big project for work and chronic stress, such as relationship troubles or grief. Both will deteriorate your immune system and leave it less able to fight off infection.”
The Solution: Learn how to better cope with and reduce the stress in your life. This may seem impossible at times, but make sure your priorities are in line. Is taking another 3 credits in college really worth sacrificing your health? If you’re overwhelmed with your children, what can you do to make sure you get a daily break and/or get your kids out of the house so you can have time to relax? Have you tried meditation? Do you practice breathing techniques to lower heart rate and blood pressure?
Take time to SLOW DOWN. Life’s meaning doesn’t increase along with the length of your busy list. Be present. Breath. Learn to be satisfied with having less on your calendar.
#2 Lack Of Sleep
According to WebMD, not getting enough sleep can contribute to:
- Lack of judgement
- Premature aging
- Weight gain
- Mental decline
- Illness, disease and serious health problems
Sometimes, your lifestyle choices, your kids, your job, school, work, etc. keep you from getting the sleep that your body desperately needs.
A study published in the Journal of Sleep Research found that adolescents who got less sleep at night were more likely to suffer from common colds, the flu and gastroenteritis.
The Solution: Do your research on natural remedies to help you get better sleep. Meditation, breathing techniques, banana tea, getting enough potassium and magnesium, creating a calming and consistent night routine, epsom salt baths, a better bed, etc. may all help you to get the sleep that you need. Keep trying new things and don’t give up!
Have a new baby? A toddler crawling into bed with you? If you simply cannot get the hours you need at night, take on less during the day so that you have time to nap and catch up on the sleep you need. Find people to babysit swap with you, ask family or neighbors to help (it takes a village, right?), say no to projects outside of the home.
#3 Poor Diet
If you are filling your body with toxins, too much sugar, all cooked and/or processed foods, chemicals and additives, then you are not giving your body the fuel or tools it needs to keep your immune system at its best.
In fact, putting all of these toxins into your body is draining your immune system and organs of vital energy. If your body is fighting what you’re purposefully putting inside of it, how it is suppose to fight everything on the outside?
If you continue with a poor diet, what is now just a simple cold will eventually become a more serious disease.
The Solution: You’re in the right place! Do your research, get support and change your diet! Even if it takes time and you can only make one small change at a time, it is worth it. You CAN gain back the best health you’ve ever had if you set your mind to it.
To get started, eat more:
- Whole fruits and vegetables
- Raw and/or soaked nuts and seeds
- Probiotic rich foods
- Organic, grass-fed meat
- Green juices/smoothies
- RAW, living foods
The road to better eating habits may be long and sometimes difficult and you may have setbacks. Be positive. Take one small step, one small change at a time. You will never regret it.
Studies have shown that conflict can be a cause of sickness. Your body, in response to a large or stressful conflict, can sometimes become more susceptible to illnesses like the common cold.
Conflict with another person or circumstance can take a lot of energy. According to researchers,
“The common cold is linked to a ‘stink conflict,’ which can be experienced in real terms, but also figuratively as ‘This situation stinks!’ or ‘I’ve had it!’
“During the conflict-active phase the nasal membrane lining widens through ulceration, which is usually not noticed. In the healing phase, however, when the nasal tissue is being repaired, the nasal membrane swells up.
“A runny nose (healing always occurs in a fluid environment), headaches, tiredness, an elevated temperature or fever are all typical signs of a vagotonic healing process. If the cold symptoms are more severe, then this is commonly called the ‘flu.’”
The Solution: Finding resolution from a conflict is one of the surest ways to start healing. If resolution with the person with whom the conflict happened is impossible, resolution within oneself and releasing attachment to the situation is the next step.
Don’t fall for the myth that people “just get sick sometimes” or “it is normal to get sick x number of times each year.”
The truth is that you should be thriving! If your body is healthy and functioning at an optimum level, sickness, illness, feeling under the weather… should all be incredibly rare.
When you start getting sick, try to find the root of the cause. Focus on rest and healing and changing your lifestyle so that your body doesn’t fall into the same trap again.
Do you have any other tips for how to reduce stress or get better sleep? Feel free to share with us in the comments below!
Jenna Barrington is studying Therapeutic Nutrition and Holistic Medicine and aspires to be a practitioner, teacher and writer. She is passionate about education and helping others take control of their health.
Jenna lives with her husband in Utah and loves writing, cooking, green smoothies, training her dog, Japanese, spending time at the ocean, bungee jumping, walking barefoot in the grass and being with her family.
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