The Common Cold Prevention Stress Reduction

Studies indicate that if you are under stress, you are more likely to catch a cold if you are exposed to the cold virus. In addition, your chances of catching a cold increase the longer you are stressed.

In order to avoid the common cold, it’s important to not only understand the relationship between stress and colds, but to also develop some techniques for relieving stress in your daily life.

Avoiding Colds: Avoid Stress

People who are under severe stress for more than one month are more likely to catch colds when exposed to the cold virus than people who are not under severe pressure. If you are dealing with more than one extreme stressor, such as losing your job and breaking up a relationship at the same time, you are even more likely to catch a cold.

Experts do not yet understand exactly why stress leaves the body more susceptible to colds. Some, however, think that stress affects the body’s levels of cortisol, a hormone that can weaken the immune system.

Cold Prevention and Stress-Reduction Techniques

Unfortunately, you cannot always avoid stress and you are not always in control of events that lead you to experience severe stress. For example, you cannot prevent the death of a loved one. However, you can work on lessening the pressure in your life by avoiding certain pitfalls, including:

  • Do not cut off your friends. Having a support system in times of crisis can help you mentally and physically. You are not alone, even if you feel like it.
  • Do not drink excessive amounts of alcohol. While drinking can provide short-term pleasure, it is important to drink in moderation. Drinking excessively can deplete the body of much-needed vitamins, can add to weight gain and can cause some serious illnesses in the long run. In the short term, hangovers do not make you feel better on a day-to-day basis.
  • Do not stop exercising. Exercising helps reduce your stress levels and benefits your cardiovascular system. If you are not exercising, start a reasonable program to get you on the road to fitness. You can walk, take a yoga class or join a gym.
  • Keep healthy eating habits. Some people react to stress by changing their eating habits by either overeating or abstaining from eating. Gaining weight quickly will put a strain on your heart and may increase your cholesterol levels. In addition, you will be adding to your overall stress levels by worrying about your weight gain. If you lose weight quickly, your body will not be receiving the necessary nutrients to stay healthy in general, leading not only to the possibility of catching more colds but also to getting more serious illnesses as well.
  • Look outward versus inward. Helping others can help you keep your mind off of your own problems.

Relaxation Therapy to Avoid Stress

You might also be interested in looking into relaxation therapy as a method of reducing stress. Relaxation therapy includes:

  • aroma therapy
  • guided imagery
  • meditation
  • music therapy.

Using these techniques may be able to help you relax and reduce some of the tension that you are experiencing in your life. Talk to your doctor about relaxation therapy as a way to reduce stress in your life.

Resources

Brody, Jane E. (1998) A Cold Fact: High Stress Can Make You Sick. Retrieved November 19, 2007, from the New York Times Web site: http://www.nytimes.com/specials/women/warchive/980512_940.html.

Help Guide (n.d.) Stress Management: How to Reduce, Prevent, and Cope with Stress. Retrieved November 19, 2007, from the HelpGuide Web site: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_management_relief_coping.htm.

The New York Times. (2007). Common Cold. Retrieved November 19, 2007, from the New York Times Web site: http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/common-cold/risk-factors.html.

Persons, Susan M. (1997) Social Support Stress, and the Common Cold. Retrieved November 19, 2007, from the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research National Institutes of Health Web site: http://obssr.od.nih.gov/Content/.

Publications/Articles/socsup.htm. Relaxation Therapy. (n.d.) What is Relaxation Therapy. Retrieved November 19, 2007, from the RelaxationTherapy Web site: http://www.relaxationtherapy.net.