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Simple & Proven Ways To Reduce The Stress Response & Boost The Immune System

Deb Gutierrez April 2020

Healthy Aging Kuel Category Expert: Deb Gutierrez

It is close to impossible not to think, talk, and feel stress today among the current COVID19 pandemic.

I invite you to take a step back, keep strong, have compassion (including self-compassion), understand the signs of stress, know you are not alone with your feelings, remember it is ok to “lose it,” and most importantly, how to boost your immune system.

Signs of stress you may not recognize as stress include:

  • Inability to focus
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Body tension – body aches and pains
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Inability to relax
  • Anxiousness
  • Highly reactionary
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Difficulty completing tasks
  • Wanting to be “alone.”

Phew! You aren’t all of a sudden, “losing it.”

Being aware of the signs can help you take appropriate steps to decrease your stress response. Take notice and be mindful of your triggers.

Did you know that 70%-80% of our immune system lives in the lining of our gut?

Higher Stress weakens the immune system and ages us faster. What you eat, think, breathe, and do directly impact the immune system.

Ways to overcome feelings of overwhelm, worry, and stress.

Walk – One of my favorite ways to decrease stress because you get outside in nature, lowers blood pressure, boosts energy, reduces fatigue, decreases cortisol, lowers blood pressure, and helps with post-prandial (after eating) blood glucose regulation.

Focus on Nutrient-Dense Foods (Eliminate Processed Foods) – The immune system and our gut health our deeply connected; a healthy microbiota will promote a healthy immune system. The key is to avoid harmful foods found in our SAD diet (Standard American Diet). Focus on Healthy Fats, Vegetables, and Quality Protein.

Avoid Sugars, Simple Carbohydrates, Inflammatory Seed Oils, and Alcohol.

Supplementation – The most important supplements you will benefit from are:

  • Vitamin C – Choose a liposomal form for easier assimilation (500-1,000mg throughout the day).
  • Vitamin D3 – (2,000 IU’s is safe) – Critical for optimal immune function, low Vitamin D levels are associated with insomnia and make it difficult to fight off illnesses.
  • Zinc – A powerful immune-supporting and gut-healing nutrient. It would be beneficial to your current zinc levels if you take “extra” long term. Zinc is a vital immune booster and essential for hormones.
  • Probiotics – help keep the gut healthy and may ensure your immune system functions well. Look for brands that have several species of good bacteria. For immunity, you need lactobacillus, bifidobacterium species. (CAVEAT – not all probiotics are effective – I take Seed Daily Synbiotic)
  • Propolis – Has polyphenols that have anti-viral effects and properties specifically for lung infections (AMAZING, right?)

Sleep Well – Studies have proven that High-quality and adequate sleep fight off viruses after exposure; it keeps our immune system healthy day-day, week-week. Also, less sleep leads to more significant food cravings and puts you at higher risk for Insulin Resistance and Diabetes..

Connect With Nature – Being outside is good for our ecosystem. It will relieve worry, anxiety, and stress. It will distract us from are overthinking and will increase pleasant feelings.

Listen to Music and Sing – Music is powerful, will reduce stress, and even gives us hope in distressing times. Soothing music will slow our heart rate. Music and singing will lower blood pressure, decrease the levels of stress hormones, and release our happy, feel-good hormones.

Exercise – Regular exercise will lower stress hormones, release endorphins – that improve mood and decrease pain, improve sleep quality, boosts feelings of confidence, and mental wellbeing. Also, exercise boosts our natural killer cells (ability to clear out viruses).

Deep Abdominal Breathing – will increase the supply of oxygen to the brain and create calm. Deep breathing activates the body’s parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system. Try the 4,7,8 method. Inhale through your nose for a count of 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale through your mouth for 8 to 10 seconds.

“What is your favorite way to overcome overwhelming worry, and stress?”

Connect with Friends/Family (virtually) – Make a list of friends you have wanted to connect with and give them a call or a FaceTime call. Talking with others increases happiness and will help overcome feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Journaling – Write it down, put pen to paper. There is no perfection here; write down anything. You do not need to read it later, write down all that is in your mind; it is like emptying the garbage. Include gratitude; each day, write down at least three things, there is always room for gratitude.

Meditation/Mindfulness – a proven tool to ease anxiety and mental stress, it turns down the mental jumble in our brain, and calms our nervous system.

Laugh – Is the best medicine. Laughing can stop our distressing thoughts and emotions. Laughter releases our bodies natural feel-good chemicals.

Let me know what you will adopt to keep your immune system, heart, brain, and body healthy.

(Please Note: You should check with your own physician before taking any supplements. I am not a medical practitioner.)

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About the Author:
Deb Gutierrez is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Personal Trainer. Her transformational coaching method helps women take the “grind” and stress out of everyday life, ditch the chronic fatigue and anxiety, to be productive, feel incredible, and fulfilled. For her, Health and Fitness are at the cornerstone of what brings meaning to life. It is the process of pushing, pulling, moving, failing, and prevailing that equals feeling fully alive. She has been married for 30 years to her husband Jim, and they have a daughter and Identical twin sons. She loves speaking, creating, and working with other women to create and celebrate the life you deserve and desire.

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