Save and print our easy-to-use Great Posture Cheatsheet. Then tape it to the wall nearest to your desk. This guide will teach you all the techniques you need to quickly improve your posture and will remind you to focus.
Imagine your immune system as a giant force field surrounding every cell, organ and tissue in your body.
When the force field is in balance, it becomes activated. When that happens, you could be in an elevator full of sneezing people and still be protected from their germs.
But if one part of that system is out of whack, the force field will weaken, and you'll become more vulnerable to illness and infection.
A healthy immune system depends on more than washing your hands (although good hygiene is definitely an important factor in avoiding illness and infections). It requires a proactive approach to health and wellness.
Here are 7 ways you can boost your immune system so your body’s natural force field stays powered up and strong.
1. Eat Well
An apple a day actually does help keep the doctor away. Healthy eating helps keep the immune system strong.
Researchers have long linked malnutrition with a spike in infectious diseases. People who live in poverty, with no access to healthy, nutritious food are more vulnerable to infection.
Certain vitamins and minerals are key to boosting the immune system. According to researchers, not consuming enough zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, or vitamins A, B6, C, and E can have a negative effect on immune responses.
On the other hand, increasing consumption of antioxidants can help boost the immune system.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that zap free radical chemicals. These chemicals, which wreak havoc on our cells, weaken our immune systems and spark diseases.
Look out for organic products that are free of hormones and antibiotics (which can compromise your immune system) whenever possible.
We all know that exercise is good for us, but why exactly?
There are a number of reasons why your immune system benefits from physical activity.
Exercise is a great way to combat stress, which (as we'll see later on) has devastating effects on your body's ability to fend off viruses and bacteria.
A growing body of research shows that regular exercise is even more effective than medication for depression and anxiety.
Research has also shown that exercise can also increase the production of cytotoxin, an extremely important cell that helps boost the immune system.
Despite the proven benefits of exercise, this doesn't mean you can just go for a quick jog whenever you feel like you're starting to get sick. You need to workout consistently, which will allow your immunity to improve over time.
3. Get A Good Night's Sleep
Immunity and sleep are intricately linked.
Research shows that when you don't get enough sleep, you become more vulnerable to illnesses. That's partly why, when you're sick and your immune response kicks into gear, you tend to feel tired -- your body is actually seeking out the restorative benefits of sleep.
Create a regular sleep routine and aim for 7-8 hours a night. If you aren’t getting enough sleep at night, try to fit in a nap, which can help reduce stress in the body.
4. Reduce Stress
Stress raises levels of the hormone cortisol in our bodies.
Cortisol, also known as the "fight or flight" hormone, affects our body's capacity to respond to infection and disease.
That's why people with high stress levels are more vulnerable to infection, plus other diseases like diabetes, cancer, and other issues.
Finding ways to decrease and avoid stress is a great way to boost the immune system.
Taking time to relax, to meditate, or just have a good laugh are all great ways to relieve stress -- and will keep cortisol at bay -- thereby increasing your body's capacity to fend off illnesses and infections.
5. Get Social
According to scientists, social butterflies have stronger immune systems than people who keep to themselves.
While we still don't know exactly why this is, there are a number of theories.
One theory is that when people are among friends and family members, they experience a rise in endorphins. These chemicals, which essentially control our happiness, counteract cortisol, boosting our immune system.
Another theory is that social interactions (including those with pets) lead to a significant increase in the production of an immune-boosting substance called immunoglobulin.
While we still don't know why this happens, one thing is certain: isolation is not good for the immune system.
6. Stay positive
A growing body of research proves that how we think has a dramatic effect on our health.
What these researchers are increasingly finding is that happiness and positivity can strengthen our immune systems -- contributing to healthier (and longer) lives.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing studies on this matter looked at the autobiographies of 180 young nuns, all of which lived in similar conditions.
The results were astonishing: nuns who wrote "happy" autobiographies, filled with positive emotions, lived significantly longer than those who focused on personal struggles.
All this is to say that psychological wellness can, and does, contribute to physical wellness.
7. See a Chiropractor
Research shows that chiropractic care can improve the immune response. This is because there is an intricate relationship between the immune system and the nervous system.
When vertebrae are out of alignment, they can exert pressure on adjacent nerves. This can disrupt the flow of vital messages through the body, including those pertaining to the immune system.
Chiropractors correct this misalignment -- known as a vertebral subluxation -- by doing safe and gentle maneuvers called chiropractic adjustments.
Realigning the spine helps nervous system work efficiently, which in turn supports a healthy immune system. The result: an increased resilience to disease and infection.
At Back2Health, we know that living a healthy lifestyle is the most important thing you can do to boost your immune system.
This healthy lifestyle, which we call the chiropractic lifestyle, promotes wellness by maintaining spinal integrity and spotlighting prevention.
Take control of your own health and contact us to schedule an appointment today.
We hear it often: You must love yourself before you can love others. Sounds so cliché; it can be annoying and triggering for some people. Why is that? And why do we HATE to hear it?
Perhaps there’s an inner fear that we have absolutely no idea what that means and how to do that.
Some people think it’s all about self-care. That’s definitely a part of it, but there’s much more to it than that.
So, what does loving yourself look like?
On the other hand, how would we describe ‘self-loathing’? And, how do we demonstrate it?
Watch your thoughts and your emotions – do any of these phrases sound familiar to you?
Those are only a few examples of subconscious thoughts that pop up in our minds – leading to belief patterns that affect the way we feel about ourselves. This eventually ends up playing out in our daily life as action steps we take (reflecting those beliefs) that shut us off from connecting with ourselves and others in loving ways, bringing us down and leading to loneliness, depression, and other negative states.
Relationship troubles and lack of self love:
If we allow it to affect us, self-loathing and the lack of self-love can also sabotage our close relationships.
After the magical phase of falling in love, isn’t it true that most of us begin to get triggered by certain aspects of the other person’s behavior? This is called the “mirror effect.” The mirror effect comes into play whenever our partners reveal, in a very similar way, how we love or do not love ourselves.
An example of this is: If you tend to be really hard on yourself, over time you will start to be as equally hard on your partner, and you may start to hear the echo of your thoughts in their defensive expressions – complaining about how they can never be “good enough” for you.
If you feel unworthy, you will look for evidence in your immediate environment that validates this belief. Having a hard time believing someone loves you, you act out to prove yourself right – for example, you may find yourself overreacting to the slightest comments from your partner that could suggest this is true. As you become more and more defensive and reactive, you drive a wedge between you and your partner, eventually manifesting your greatest fears as the relationship wanes and begins to fall apart.
If you believe you are a failure, you will often retreat from the relationship instead of “rising up” to defend it. For instance, whenever there is even the slightest hint of a relationship challenge, since you only see yourself as defective as opposed to resilient, you retreat into your own self-doubt instead of rising up to meet the challenge. Why would you be strong when things get tough, when you’re only doomed to fail? Another self-fulfilling prophesy ends up being the result.
Do you get the picture? Can you begin to understand why it’s so important to love and forgive ourselves above all else? Our capacity to love is infinite, but we can only love to the degree that we love ourselves.
So yes, the cliché is true.
Here are 6 things you can do to expand your self-love and compassion:
1. Forgive yourself for your past mistakes:
If you have regrets about your past habits, choices and behaviors – make a list of them all and then one by one, fill in the blank as you write the following:
I forgive myself about _________________. That was the best I could do then. However, I know better now, and I’ve learned from that experience. I can now choose something better for myself, and I will. Repeat it daily for awhile, and as you hear yourself saying these things, focus on your heart expanding.
2. Face those fears:
Write down all the things you wish you were doing but you don’t because you’re afraid you are not good enough. Then, repeat the following phrase: I don’t have to be perfect, I can trust myself to try new things and I know it takes practice and time to get good at anything.
3. Remind yourself that you are lovable, and deserve to be loved, just the way you are:
Yes, I said it, just the way you are, with all your imperfections. A good exercise from author Louise Hay is called ‘mirror work’. Every day look in the mirror, look directly into your eyes and say, “I love you.” It might sound silly, but trust me, it is powerful! We came from pure love and without our judgments we would feel just like a baby – lovable and willing to love.
4.Watch your words:
Is there any should ofs, could ofs, always or nevers with regards to yourself and your life? Chances are, you are judging yourself on what you should be doing according to other peoples’ or societies’ opinions. Many people turn 30 and they start feeling copious amounts of shame because they are not where “they are supposed to be.” This creates a sense of immobility and unworthiness and this brings me to my next point.
5. Let go of guilt and shame:
As humans, sometimes we end up hurting others with our decisions. Chances are, it wasn’t intentional. Be gentle with yourself, and trust that you are doing the best you can. Sometimes standing up for yourself or ending an unhealthy relationship can cause pain to another person, but we must stay true to our own personal values. Other times, we might be under high stress and anxiety – periods where we might have reacted harshly against a loved one – that never feels good. But, if we can get back up, dust ourselves off, and explain to others exactly what happened for you, things always have a way of working out.
Feeling guilt and shame can be okay, if we learn from those emotions. However, if we do not shift into forgiveness and cease to carry those two heavy rocks on our backs they can cause a cycle of more pain and more reactivity.
6. Remind yourself of your gifts, qualities and talents:
We all mess up at times. We all are imperfect, with both positive and negative behaviors. Yet, we tend to over-focus on all the negative (or what’s missing or lacking). Instead, why don’t you try reminding yourself of all the great qualities that make you, you. When in doubt, ask a close friend to share with you what he/she loves and admires about you – then, write it all down, and read it as often as you need to.
I’m sure what you’ll discover is that you are a loveable, admirable human being who is worthy of everything life has to offer.
With Love, Leonora.
Christian Guenette - chiropractor