When it comes to healthy immune balance, stress is kind of like the good, the bad, and the ugly. The good is that a little quick-hitting stress once in while–a scary movie, anxiety before a test or a recital or speech–can be a good thing for your immune system. It activates some fast-acting hormones and adrenaline that can give your immune system a kind of battery charge and keep it charged and ready for action later. Kind of like starting a car in storage during the winter every week, just to keep the engine active and ready to go in the spring.
The bad is that lingering stress can knock immune function out of balance, clearing the way for seasonal health issues like colds, flu, or allergies to take hold.
The ugly is that chronic stress…long-term stress triggered by financial hardship, marital problems, radical change in diet (alcohol, high fat and sugar at every meal), or other life changes can set the stage for serious disease.
As we move into the holiday season–always a season ripe for stress–keep this in mind. Proactively doing things to reduce stress can make a difference in health, and make the season merrier. This story might add some new thinking that may help as well.