As we approach the winter months, there will be an inevitable reduction in our energy levels, a possible lower mood due to the decrease in daylight hours and the usual round of colds and flu that we attempt to fight off with less oomph than usual.
Now is a good time to talk about stress, low mood, fear, can all contribute to ability to protect ourselves from infection.
If you have any interest at all in how the state of your mind influences your body then I thoroughly recommend reading the below article which is a manageable size and widely available online.
The Mind-Body Interaction in Disease
Esther M. Sternberg & Philip W. Gold
Sternberg has contributed a great deal to our understanding of how the body and mind interact in illness and healing. In this article she & Gold write clearly about the effects of increased cortisol levels on our body.
Short-term elevations of cortisol are productive and there for a reason, being an immunoregulator and anti-inflammatory agent as well as helping us respond to stressful situations. However, while acute stress can enhance our immune response, chronic stress is generally immunosuppressive.
Sternberg & Gold compare the responses occurring in those with depression and those with inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis to illustrate the similarities in systemic & psychological response.
It’s fascinating stuff, and while most of us are now are that lack of sleep, unhealthy diet, low mood and work or emotional stress all make us more prone to picking up that nasty cold doing the rounds, this article goes a step further and does a great job of explaining why trying to separate illnesses into only affecting body or mind, are pretty pointless.