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6 Immune System Busters & Boosters

4. You're always stressed.

Everyone has some stress; it's part of life. If stress drags on for a long time, it makes you more vulnerable to illness, from colds to serious diseases.

Chronic stress exposes your body to a steady stream of stress hormones that suppress the immune system.

You may not be able to get rid of your stress, but you can get better at managing it.

  • Learn to meditate.
  • Slow down.
  • Connect with other people.
  • Work out to blow off steam.

Counseling is a big help, too.

Easing stress lowers levels of a stress hormone. It also helps you sleep better, which improves immune function. 

People who meditate regularly may have healthier immune system responses, some studies show. In one experiment, people who meditated over an 8-week period made more antibodies to a flu vaccine than people who didn’t meditate. And they still showed an increased immune system response 4 months later.

5. You're too isolated.

Having strong relationships and a good social network is good for you.

People who feel connected to friends – whether it’s a few close friends or a large group – have stronger immunity than those who feel alone, studies show.

In one study, lonely freshmen had a weaker immune response to a flu vaccine than those who felt connected to others.

Although there are many other things that affect your health, making meaningful connections with people is always a good idea.

6. You've lost your sense of humor.

Laughing is good for you. It curbs the levels of stress hormones in your body and boosts a type of white blood cell that fights infection.

Just anticipating a funny event can have a positive effect on your immune system. In one study, men were told 3 days in advance that they were going to watch a funny video. Their levels of stress hormones dropped.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on October 24, 2013

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