In today’s modern times, the common person is quite safe, relatively speaking. Even though some populations around the globe experience a high level of danger, the majority of the world’s population is sitting pretty.
If you compare today’s average life expectancy of 71 years to the average life expectancy of 30 years old during the medieval times, you’ll realize how mankind has made quite a leap when it comes to protecting itself from threats.
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The danger of infectious diseases
In fact, humans are so good at protecting itself that it has now grown to 7 billion strong. That is a lot of people. It is such a huge number that it puts us at a different kind of disadvantage – infectious diseases. Knowing the possibility of a pandemic erupting at any moment, experts are constantly on look-out for any sign of a new virus strain that might emerge from countries with a huge density of population such as China and the United States.
Your immune system is your shield
Having the weakest immune systems, old people and children are the most susceptible targets for contagious diseases. Healthy adults have stronger immune systems which give them more resistance against airborne infections, but sometimes medical conditions and other factors suppress their immune system. In fact a meta-study by Psychological Bulletin have found different kinds of stress weakens the immune system in different ways.
Brief Stress vs Chronic Stress
The researchers studied 300 empirical articles describing an association between psychological stress and the immune system in its participants. What they found is brief naturalistic stressors, such as exams, suppressed the cellular immunity but preserved humoral immunity while chronic stress weakens the immune system entirely.
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The findings in this study suggest that a person who has prolonged unreleased stress is more likely to contract an infectious disease than a person who releases stress using relaxation techniques before it becomes a chronic condition.
Avoid chronic stress by relaxation
Knowing how to determine distress from eustress can help protect you from chronic stress by having the correct psychological perspective when encountering stressful situations.
In order to optimize immune system health, a person should keep track of his or her stress levels. Significantly affecting susceptibility to sickness, taking a few minutes in your day to perform relaxation exercises and relaxing activities can improve your overall resistance to diseases.
Precautions in food and health industries have been put in place to protect the general public from danger infectious disease, however, its always good to have a nice and solid immune system serving as your personal fortification against sickness.
1. Segerstrom, S. C., & Miller, G. E. (2004). Psychological stress and the human immune system: a meta-analytic study of 30 years of inquiry. Psychological bulletin, 130(4), 601.