Anyone with allergy symptoms knows about chronic stress. Common allergy symptoms include: difficult breathing, poor sleep, fatigue, and problems concentrating. While medications may help, they may produce side effects such as: changes in appetite, low energy, or irritability. All these symptoms are stressful in themselves.
There’s the catch-22, when you’re stressed out, your body releases the hormone cortisol and other chemicals including histamine, a powerful chemical that leads to allergy symptoms – a runny nose, sneezing, etc. So while stress doesn’t cause allergies, it makes an allergic reaction worse.
Allergy symptoms are said to be an overreaction by the immune system to otherwise harmless substances. Under stress, our immune systems are compromised; they do not function as designed. Our immune systems are not responding appropriately. A psychologist said that “stress makes us stupid.” It seems that stress has the same effect on our immune system.
Stress, Allergies, & Meditation
Meditation can help bring our lives under control when we are under stress.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to deduce that the level of stress in the world is increasing. Drive through a yellow light today, and there’s probably 4 cars following you. Look to your left and right and you will see the driver next to you talking on their cell phone. And yet, most of us have heard that multitasking while driving is fraught with risks. Is our priority to live fast or live well?
Here’s some evidence of how we are doing. In the 1960’s, an estimated 1 in 10 people reported some form of allergy and now up to 1 in 3 suffer from allergies of some kind. To say something is amiss, is an understatement. Clearly we need to do better in the way we handle stress if we want relief from allergies.
To reduce stress, making the following lifestyle adjustments will work wonders. Getting plenty of sleep each night will help us restore balance and heal our allergic bodies. Making time for some regular exercise is a key to reducing stress and building a strong immune system. Even during a short walk, your body will release epinephrine which acts as a natural decongestant, helping you breathe easier.
Finally, neuroscientists on the forefront of healthy aging research are telling us that we need to create a healthy brain in order to enhance the quality of our life. In that regard, the above lifestyle strategies are important. However, nothing is more important for your healthy lifestyle than relaxation and bringing peace to our brains. We need to restore ourselves from the frantic pace of modern life. And, there’s good news. For over 40 years, scientists having been researching the influence of meditation and the results are conclusive.
A meditation practice doesn’t have to be connected to a religion or philosophy. One physician described his meditation practice as a mini-vacation, and then happily declared that he now vacations every day! This practice restores us and keeps us healthy. Allergies and many other ailments often disappear for those that meditate regularly; and at the very least, they become much more manageable, less stressful.
Greg Schweitzer, a meditation teacher for more than 35 years, teaches at Twin Ponds Center Integrative Health Center in Breinigsville, PA.
The daily practice of meditation is shown to lift anxiety and depression, restore balance and strength to our immune system, increase energy, improve breathing, reduce stress and so much more. The scientific evidence is undeniable, people who meditate regularly live longer and healthier lives.