Stress and the Common Cold
Science meets common sense. I read an article last week which summarises findings relating to how stress can affect your immune systemt, and thought I would post a quick summary. It’s something I think we all know deep down, but it’s worth reminding ourselves of, especially as we all get towards the end of the year and start to feel the effects of the last 12 months.
Researchers asked whether the widespread phenomenon of getting a cold during exam time or feeling run-down after a big meeting is merely coincidence, or is it possible that stress can actually make us sick? Sure, seems kind of obvious, but we’re now armed with some pretty solid data and scientifically validated explanations for how stress (including things like anxiety and depression) can affect immune function and well-being. There are plenty of studies showing how stress and depression increase the risk of getting infections and also result in delayed wound healing.
Other studies have shown that if you are in a stressful situation for a long time, even after the stressful situation has ended, the effects on your immune system can continue. In their words, this indicates ”that chronic stress may cause the immune system to age quickly, and may accelerate risk of a host of age-related diseases.
Like I said, this is something we’re all pretty sure is true anyway. But sometimes reading that this has been verified by researchers makes you take it more seriously. Check out the article and keep it in mind as you get towards the end of the year. The last thing you want is to push yourself so hard coming into the holiday season that you are then too sick to enjoy it!