Looking Ahead With Lauren: How I Learned Stress Really Does Cause The Sniffles

stressI’ve heard many times that stress is one of the largest causes of illness. I always thought that sounded strange. Surely coming into contact with a bug, eating poorly and not exercising, not washing your hands diligently, etc. were what really caused you to catch the sniffles. This week, however, caused me to think about stress and sickness a little more.

Last week, I got stuck driving in the iciest roads I’ve ever seen. I was going 15 mph and being extra careful on the freeway and still slipping and sliding everywhere. Terrible road conditions with the added fact that it was nighttime put me in a state of panic. One of my biggest fears is getting into a bad car accident. Add to that I had just seen a movie where the premise was that a couple got into a car accident because of snowy roads and she lost her memory…. eeek.

Then the next day, I was all set for the cake decorating class I had been taking. It was the last night of class where we had to bring an iced cake ready to decorate. I had spent hours making sure my cake looked perfect, including icing it twice so it was beautiful and white and not showing any tasty red velvet crumbs. Fast forward to 15 minutes before class while waiting for my friend to pick me up… the cake carrier slides off a chair sending the cake upside down and ripping all that beautiful frosting off. Cue more panic. My friend convinced me to go to the class where all my icing bags broke and our frosting was a complete mess. Blah, at least I tried I suppose!

These disasters along with other stress led to a couple of days of not feeling so great off and on. Today it seems a full blown cold is on its way. Perhaps I did pick up a bug somewhere along the weekend, but feeling stressed and anxious is probably what hurt my immune system the most. No matter how great you eat, how much you work out and how careful you are with not touching germy items, I know that stress can break down your immune system and not give you the tools you need to fight off infections and illnesses.

So for right now I am resting, drinking a lot of liquids and doctoring myself up and hoping I feel better tomorrow and realizing I need to stay happy and stress-free. While this is definitely impossible to avoid all the time because accidents happen, things will cause me to become anxious, but I need to take a deep breath. I need to continue to do yoga and perhaps pump up my practice because I know it helps me stress less. I need to take a breath and try to laugh instead of cry when something totally annoying happens like dropping my cake.

What about you? Do you believe stress causes illness? How do you stay stress free?

To read more from Lauren (including a review of “The Vow” before it has been released… this was the movie I mentioned above), check out Lauren’s Thoughts.

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  1. It sounds like you had some lousy misadventures, dear Lauren, and I do agree wholeheartedly that stress can create all kinds of physical problems; I need to take your advice. Sure hope you begin to feel better.

  2. Hi Lauren: I could relate to your article today. Even as a naturopathic nutritionist and knowing how to “knock out” the bugs from your immune system, I underwent some very strong anxiety provoking stress last week and then came down with the worst cold I think I have had in years. I used all my natural immune system boosting supplements when I felt the sickness starting, but low and behold, I could not stop it. I know that the extreme anxiety I felt lowered my immune system so much that even my supplements were not enough this time (along with also having traveled on an airplane that week). So you are right, the power of emotions are so powerful that we have to remember it controls the immune system as much as the importance of right eating and taking supplements. In cases of people who always suffer from depression and anxiety, their immune systems are suppressed as much as 40-50% of their capabilities! Getting control of our fears, disappointments, sadnesses and even lack of restful sleep are so much a part of our over-all immune system health. Good article!

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