Week Five: Immune System
The human immune system is responsible for protecting us from the disease-causing microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi that surround us at all times. Activated before birth (during the second trimester), your immune system protects you for your entire life. It functions throughout the different systems of the body in various forms and adapts in reaction to new or evolving pathogens. Everyone has a unique immune system that responds differently to the diverse range of actual and perceived environmental threats.
Many people enhance their immune system through lifestyle changes, as there are many factors that indirectly affect immune system health. For instance, your personal hygiene, food intake, surrounding environment, sleep quality, and stress levels can all support or weigh on your immune system. Therefore, it can be helpful to mindfully address these areas of your lifestyle to give your immune system its best chance to keep you healthy.
This week, dedicate your energy and attention to a mindful practice of supporting the immune system naturally. Follow the simple steps provided below and do your own research on how the following factors are already affecting your health:
Supporting your immune system can be as easy as protecting it from environmental assaults naturally with a simple hygiene routine such as washing your hands before and after every meal to preventing infections.
Food and Micronutrients
This week, increase your dietary focus. Try to eat more natural, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (if tolerated well). If eating meat, cook it thoroughly and avoid cross-contamination while preparing food. If you smoke or drink, practice moderation this week. Consider adding some naturally derived supplements or whole foods that contain vitamin C, B-complex, A, and zinc to support your immune system—but consult your physician first.
The more pathogens you take in, the more work your immune system must do. Try to reduce your exposure to pollutants and contaminants. Stay away from sick friends and avoid polluted air as much as possible. Wearing adequate personal protection, thoroughly clean your living space and working environment.
Your immune system is a complex mechanism that performs based on your internal clock. Maintaining seven to eight hours of sleep at night on a consistent schedule allows the immune system to perform at its best in terms of defense, support, and recovery.
While your immune system is actively responsible for your internal health, you are responsible for the external factors that can affect your immune system. Stress can interfere with your immune system in ways that few can afford. Although you may not be able to control the external world and stressful situations, you can mostly control how you respond to those unpleasant circumstances. Continue taking time this week to recognize stressful situations as they occur, then use some simple stress management tactics to overcome or accept the discomfort these situations cause. Experiment to find out what works best for you.
Duration and Frequency:
During this practice, focus on the factors that influence your immune system as often as you can recognize them.
Practice for one to three weeks or until you feel your immune system trends toward balance. Listen to your body’s signals of health or disease to determine when you’re comfortable moving on.