You’ve probably heard it countless times that being active and getting regular exercise is good for you. There are plenty of reasons why that statement is true, but people sometimes overlook how important it is to elevate your mind.
This is what meditation can help with. The origins of meditation can be traced all the way back to 5,000 to 3,500 BCE and grew significantly in eastern cultures and religions like Buddhism. Early practitioners believed that your mind had the potential to make positive changes all throughout your body. And by mastering your mind, a whole new level of personal enlightenment and abilities could be achieved.
These days, meditation focuses on relieving stress and anxiety, while offering a variety of health benefits for the body. And with the coronavirus (COVID-19) impacting communities throughout the country, people are looking for every edge to protect their health. Let’s explore why meditation can be used as a natural way to boost your immune system.
How the Body and Brain’s Stress Response Affects the Immune System
Have you ever had a friend, co-worker or family member tell you that too much stress is bad for you? Well, it turns out they were right. Excess stress can take a toll on your immune system and even lead to an increase in inflammation throughout your body.
When you experience stress, your brain and body respond to try to manage it. Your brain tells your adrenal cortex (located in the abdomen) to release stress hormones like cortisol. When cortisol is released, one of its responsibilities is to control swelling and inflammation in your body and relieve stress.
What’s important to note is that this stress management process takes a lot of effort from your brain and body, leaving your immune system vulnerable. When your immune system can’t do its job as effectively, you’re at greater risk of getting sick.
Where Does Meditation Come Into Play?
Since excess stress can hurt your immune system, meditation and mindfulness can help you manage it. But the benefits that meditation can have on your immune system don’t stop there. A recent study looked at 20 randomized control trials to measure the effect meditation has on the immune system. Researchers found that:
• People who meditate had lower markers of inflammation, just like the example we gave above.
• There was an increase in CD-4 cells. Think of them as the scouts for your immune system. They travel around the body and tell other cells which infections to attack. Having more CD-4 cells makes your immune system better at its job.
• Telomerase activity saw an increase. This immune system process helps prevent cells from deteriorating, giving your immune system cells longer careers to help fight off infections.
Can Meditation Boost Your Immune System?
While more research needs to be done on the topic, current data suggest that regular meditation can boost your immune system. But it’s important to remember that meditation isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for keeping your immune system healthy.
What it can do is give your mind and body a break from any stress you experience on a daily basis. Taking a few moments to stop and pause gives your immune system a chance to reset.
Think about it as a way to give your body a rest. After all, there’s a reason why people who practice meditation compare it to taking a refreshing nap. With enough practice, you can train your brain to be more resistant to the effects of stress.
Why is Meditation Important for People in Addiction Treatment and Recovery?
Now that you know that meditation can help boost your immune system, you might be wondering why it matters to you. After all, your focus is set on overcoming your addiction and moving your recovery forward.
It’s true that meditation can’t cure a drug or alcohol addiction, or magically lead you to lasting sobriety. But your substance abuse has put you at a higher risk for COVID-19. And meditation is a great way for you to naturally strengthen your immune system.
However, there’s a catch. If you want meditation to help strengthen your immune system, you will have to stop using drugs or alcohol. While it can be a scary thought at first, you don’t have to go through that process alone. Luxury addiction treatment centers in Arizona like Fountain Hills Recovery can help.
You Have the Potential to Recover from Addiction
While meditation boosts your immune system, it can also be a great practice to help support your recovery after addiction. At Fountain Hills Recovery, we can help you with meditation and other healthy coping skills that promote lasting recovery.
Many of us have been through addiction ourselves and know how isolating addiction can be. And that was before stay-at-home orders and social distancing became common. If you’re ready for a sober lifestyle, Fountain Hills Recovery can give you a place to start.
Our evidence-based addiction treatment in Arizona can help you reclaim your life. Contact our expert team today to get started on your path to lasting recovery.