It is common knowledge that meditation, regardless of the type and performance, can transform the body and mind in many positive ways. Those who want to increase motivation and focus turn to visualization meditation, while those living or working in busy districts turn to acupuncture or mindfulness practices to experience relaxation amid the daily stresses of life.
Meditation reduces anxiety and depression and boosts brain volume. While it helps us stay aware and calm, meditation isn’t just about focus and relaxation. It can positively affect the immune system by preventing us from getting sick and becoming more resistant to flu, common colds, and even the coronavirus.
In these times when a strong immune system is your best defense during a pandemic, it’s important to know the important steps to avoid getting infected by COVID-19 aside from isolation, social distancing, wearing of masks, and frequent hand washing. In this article, we’ll talk about how meditation strengthens the immune system’s function and how it can protect you from different viruses.
Decreases stress levels
Staying mindful and calm in tough times is quite tricky, but it is during challenging and stressful situations that you must commit to a daily meditation routine. This is because if you’re stressed, the body’s “fight or flight” response switches on.
Stress, negative thinking, and specific emotional conditions have negative impacts on the immune system, making the body increasingly vulnerable to viruses. These involve chemical effects, such as sweating of palms and fast heart rate, making it difficult to focus on other things aside from stress. Although stress has beneficial effects when faced with physical danger, anything that’s too much can lead to severe, negative effects.
When our body experiences heightened stress, it automatically shifts its energy to areas that will prevent short-term danger, such as the suppression of digestion, the immune system, and other parts that have a long-term impact on physical health. Although short-term suppression of immune health isn’t risky, it can make the body vulnerable to infection and illness.
Decreasing stress levels is one of the widely accepted and valued benefits of meditation. It’s an effective remedy for people suffering from mental health concerns. Meditation provides tools to redefine how we respond to various life situations. Practicing mindfulness activities will help you identify unnecessary thoughts and exclude them from your core self.
Mindfulness mechanisms that benefit the overall well-being are multifold and complex, but the practice focuses on decreased rumination and stress and increased ability to respond to difficult emotions. As a result, regular mindfulness meditation helps in preventing impaired immunity.
Increased antibody production
One of the obvious effects of meditation on the immune system is at the cellular level. The body generates different cells to keep the immune system on the right track and avoid infection. For this reason, meditation has a positive impact on the most important immune cells.
A study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison explored the effects of a mindfulness meditation program on the brain and immune function. One group received a flu vaccine while the other group underwent meditation training for eight weeks. The result shows that the participants who received meditation have higher antibody levels than those who have vaccines. Although coronavirus has severe symptoms than flu, both came from the same virus family, which suggests that meditation can provide an extra layer of protection against deadly viruses, such as coronavirus.
Another study from the University of California discovered the effects of meditation on HIV-infected patients. The first group consisted of HIV-positive men who meditated daily from 30 to 45 minutes, while the control group did not take any meditation.
The results show that those who received their training sessions have a higher number of CD-4 cells, also known as white blood cells that fight infection. It also shows that meditation increases T-cells for those who have breast cancer and HIV and interleukin 10 among colitis patients. All these cells play an important role in preserving immune health.
Improves sleep quality
Lack of sleep has adverse effects on our physical and psychological health. It also affects our spiritual health by preventing the body to renew its psychic energy, a driving force behind all mental processes.
While it’s challenging to stay focused and productive with little sleep, failure to get seven to eight hours of restful sleep affects the body’s ability to ward off infection. Lack of sleep also puts considerable stress on our bodies, forcing the immune system to function over time. That is why one of the keys to sleeping better and a healthy immune system is sufficient rest and consistent meditation. It also reduces the chances of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.
Meditation is an effective intervention tool and immunity system booster. As coronavirus variants continue to emerge, we have to take extra steps to safeguard our overall health against viruses and diseases. By including meditation in our wellness routine, we can boost our physical defenses while improving our overall well-being.