Previous Performance Tips have focused on factors that impact immune response and immune health. We like to think that our immune response is an independent defense system that seeks out and destroys foreign invaders. That is not the case. Our immune response is significantly affected by health and mood factors such as high stress. Acute stress can help athletes perform better, however, chronic stress plays havoc with our overall health and our immune response. Individuals with elevated, sustained levels of stress have a diminished immune response and are more prone to upper respiratory infections.
The relationship between stress and immune system dysfunction is particularly relevant to Millennials. An American Psychological Association study concluded this demographic group has 24% higher stress levels than baby boomers and 40% higher than individuals over 73 years old. During this chaotic time all of us are functioning with higher stress levels. Self-quarantine guidelines, in place in almost every state, exacerbate feelings of uncertainty and isolation which raise stress levels.
Therefore, it is essential that we implement practical measures to reduce our stress levels. Exercise is certainly a major tool. Yoga is great stress releaser and many websites offer virtual yoga classes. Use social media and social networks to reach out to people and stay in daily contact with friends and family. And if you know someone who is particularly susceptible to anxiety, reach out to them to reassure them that they are not alone.