Synopsis: This mini-love-lesson discusses the connection between healthy, real love and its psychobiological effect on our immunity systems; then gives 10 rather different, memorably named things to do for boosting one’s own immunity functioning which relate to both self-love and other love.
Healthy Love and A Healthy YouDid you know that love is extremely helpful to your immunity system, healing wounds and fending off diseases? Yes, being in love relationships and experiencing healthy, real love works to improve maintain and strengthen your mechanisms for disease resistance and recovery. The more you give, receive and do healthy, functional love the healthier you tend to get. That is the conclusion to be drawn from literally hundreds of love and health related, scientific explorations into what makes immunity mechanisms work and improve.
Note, that in many of these studies, the word “love” is not used but rather some other euphemistic term. Sometimes researchers shy away from using the word love and instead use terms like “affectional bonding, emotionally intimate relationships, ongoing mated relating and, a favorite of mine, “stabilized biosocially & affectively interactive”. I find it odd that quite a few scientifically oriented researchers seem to be uncomfortable with the word love except for comparative experimental psychologists and primatologists Therefore, finding and collecting research reports on love is a bit complicated.
People in emotionally close, mutually rewarding relationships are constantly found to have better immunity functioning and disease resistance compared with those who do not have such relationships. Also, as people enter into healthy, real, love bonded relationships their immunity mechanisms work better and they have significantly fewer infections, especially respiratory infections like colds and the flu.
Healthy Self-Love and Improved ImmunityFor reasons of healthy self-love you can do quite a lot to help your own immunity system function better. Also, for reasons of loving others, it is good to keep yourself healthy for their benefit as well as yours. Both you and those others who love you want to keep you around so, learning to do what you can to help your protective systems operate optimally is loving, wise and reasonable. To assist you with that, here are 10 actions you can take. First, note that we will be using some odd, not (yet) real words because in their odd form they may assist you to think and remember these things about immunity boosting. Finding easier lay terms to communicate about immunity issues may just be beginning.
10 IMMUNITY BOOSTING SELF-LOVE ACTIONSAll the following are suggestions and not medical directives. Know your own physical condition in order to choose and use them wisely.
1. Love Connect. As often as possible make loving contact with others psychologically, physically and safely. This includes pets, especially dogs. Face-to-face talk is great but also can be pretty significant if done on Skype or Zoom, etc. Auditory phone talk allows you to experience your loved ones’ voices and the effect of their tones of voice on your reduction of stress hormone production can be significant, no matter what is being said if it said lovingly.
2. Sleep. When we are sleep-deprived, our bodies get more susceptible to infections. During sleep, our immunity mechanisms regenerate and repair our bodies as well as work to rejuvenate themselves. Too little sleep and too destructive a sleep pattern works to de-power our immunity systems. So, work to get enough, good sleep.
3. Sweat. When we sweat we rid our bodies of toxic substances that lower our body’s ability to fight off disease, counter toxicity and maintain our biological balances. Using really hot water (not to the point of injury) to sweat works well. Hot tubs, spas, hot baths and hot showers, along with vigorous workouts, saunas, hard and fast action sports and anything else that gets perspiration flowing are also fine. The relaxation effect of hot water increases stress reduction and endorphin production, both of which are very good for our immunity systems.
4. Vitaminize. Our bodies will not and cannot fight viruses and bacteria effectively if we are vitamin deficient. A One-A-Day multivitamin/multimineral is simple, quick and probably minimally sufficient. If you are stressed more vitamin C, B complex and zinc often are recommended. Check with the appropriate medical specialist for what is best for you individually.
5. Zincanate. If we get zinc deficient our chances of getting sick, with a respiratory infection especially or other breathing complications, seem to go way up. When we put zinc in our diet by eating legumes, seeds, nuts, mushrooms, some meats, oysters, crab, lobsters and/or taking a zinc supplement we are acting in a healthy self-love way. See a healthy diet specialist to get it just right for you.
6. Fiberize. Generally, the more fiber foods we eat the more beneficial bacteria we have helping our metabolism make our bodies more disease resistant. Bananas, broccoli, avocado, sweet potatoes and almonds all can be helpful, along with many other vegetables and fruits.
7. Mediterraneanize. More than 70% of our immunity functioning is heavily influenced by our diet. Our digestive tract handles most of the pathogens and toxic chemicals that can harm us. But it can not do that if we do not eat right. Generally, what is called a Mediterranean Diet works well for lots of people, over time. That diet includes lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, some lean meats, many types of seafood, whole-grain breads, olive oil and small portions of many other things, but not too many carbs if your life is rather sedentary. It usually is best to avoid or limit heavily processed foods, white flour products, refined oils ,refined sugar and sugar-added-foods and especially large amounts of fatty meats.
8. Move. Our bodies are built to move. Without enough movement every waking hour, or so, we start to physically weaken and wane. This, in turn, negatively affects our immunity system functioning. Sufficient exercise enhances our in vivo responses to viral and destructive antigens and seems to delay immunological aging. 20 + minutes of fairly rigorous exercise, 3+ times a week seems to be the most common recommendation among health professionals. But even brisk walking can help if you are in the couch potato category. You can find out what might be best for you individually from physical therapists, movement analysts, nurses, physicians and a wide variety of other health specialists.
9. Nasalate. Nasal passage health is also rather important so, give your nose and breathing some helpful attention. Viruses get lodged in our noses, along with toxic particulate matter and other things you do not want residing there. The longer they remain there, the more they can attack us, give our immunity systems problems and do us harm. There are three main ways you might go about helping yourself here. The first has to do with deep breathing exercises. To sit straight and do deep and slow breathing for 1 minute, or more, twice or more a day makes a good start. By the way, do not stand, we do not want you to faint if this is a new exercise to you or you have a troublesome breathing condition.
Learning yoga breathing exercises or other similar systems that get a lot of oxygen into our lungs and, thereby, boost blood circulation which helps our immunity mechanisms function better by quite a bit. Another way has to do with aromatherapy. That involves breathing various scents, aerosols, incense and mists recognized as having certain medicinal, generally therapeutic and anti-infection effects. A third way has to do with using a nasal rinse to flush your nasal cavity of unwanted matter. Sometimes that is coupled with the use of an antiseptically treated thread gently run through one’s nasal passage. That makes for a bit of a delicate and moderately unpleasant experience, probably best first accomplished by someone well trained and acquainted with teaching the process.
10. Meditate. Especially are health-oriented, self-love mindfulness meditation exercises associated with improved immune system functioning. Research suggests such exercises can assist in the circulating of immune proteins which are good for fighting inflammations. Meditation also is quite useful in stress reduction and the reduction of destructive, stressor hormone production. Overall, healthfulness and vitality improvements also are indicated.
All 10 of the above, suggested ways are to be considered general guidelines to be checked-out by your primary health providers for their appropriateness to your individual situation and needs.
Relationship Well-Being and Its Effect on ImmunityWell functioning, love relationships can have a very positive effect on how well our immunity systems protect us. Likewise, a poor functioning, love relationship frequently is highly stressful and, therefore, neurochemically bad for our biological, self-protection systems. Also involved is our healthy, self-love functioning. If it is good, probably so is our immunity system functioning more likely to be good.
One more thing. We suggest you talk all this over with someone well trained in the healing arts, professions or sciences. If you do that, please mention this site and all its health-related, mini-love lessons. Thank you.
As always – Go and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
Love Success Question: Have you meditated on the fact that you are a truly awesome, huge bundle of miraculous, interwoven systems and, therefore, you are not to be taken for granted or undervalued? If you haven’t, please do!