The Connection Between our Immune System and our Anxiety

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Dr. Eliaz offers support during the pandemic. But these techniques can be used at any time in your life. Here he discusses the philosophy behind stress responses in the body and provides practical applications for stress reduction.

The Immune System and Times of Stress

So, again, hello to all of you again, and I want to continue this series about the immune system and the times of stress. What do we do in times of stress? How can we better protect ourselves on multiple levels? And I want to start from a philosophical point of view. We have a better understanding that we can use not only in this time of crisis but also using the future in regular times. How can we use it right now? 

So if we look at our immune system is really our army. It’s really our protective system and their protection happens in multiple levels. The first obvious protection is protecting ourselves from outside invaders through our skin, through our different openings that have filters, and through making sure that we have good boundaries. In this sense, the crisis of the virus falls into this category. We’re trying to protect ourselves from invasion from the outside.

How the Immune System Works

The other part of the immune system is the internal aspect of the immune system. The immune system regulates multiple functions within our bodies. It creates a response to an invasion from the outside, and it creates a response to certain signaling. When we determined that there was a problem inside our body. For example, if there’s a cancer cell in the body and we need to kill the cancer cells, or if a certain antigen and molecule is recognized with the immune system penetrates inside our body for a certain reason, how do we mount an immune response? And in this sense, we want an immune system that is resilient, that is flexible, and that knows when to respond. What do I mean? Every resilient system, immune system is an immune system that is ready to respond when needed, you can respond quickly, you can respond vigorously. 

It has the flexibility to know when to respond and to respond. It has the ability to calm down where there is no need for a response. In this sense, obviously there are a few scenarios. One scenario, which is ideal is indeed a well-tuned fine-tuned immune system, which is balanced, which is well regulated, very important because, for example, medicinal mushrooms have the quality of regulating the immune system. 

When the Immune System is Imbalanced

Whereas the other side, there’s an immune system that is in a state of anergy. It doesn’t respond properly. It doesn’t recognize the problem. When it responds, it’s kind of too late or not strong enough.  In such an immune system, we want to strengthen the immune system. You will want to be more ready and respond quicker. We have a, an immune system that is hyper that over response to the outside, the classical example of being allergies, we respond to something we’re not supposed to respond and create an allergic response, when an emotional and psychological level, these are people who are alarmist, who feel that they’re in danger even when the danger is really far away. 


Autoimmune Diseases are when the Body Over Reacts 

It’s like when somebody is reading that, a meteor is going to maybe hit the earth in two years and they’re already stressed about it. That’s something that we over-respond and there is an immune system, as we say that’s one way. The other way, when we over-respond to things inside our body, we misrecognize cells or parts of our body is needing, as ours, and we attack them. This is in the category of autoimmune diseases. What is really important to understand is that it is the immune system uses through different cytokines, with different chemicals. It uses inflammatory system as a way to fight and protect the body. This is part of our survival response, and we set the fire to burn the problem. If the fire is too strong and we can’t eradicate it on time, it will cause damage. It will cause a burn. It will cause a scar. 

Cytokine Storms and the Immune System

Often, for example, infection in sepsis, it’s not the infection that causes us the severe reaction. It’s a hyperimmune response, its the cytokine storm. The ability to be vigilant, relaxed, and open is essential as part of a proper immune response. Now that we can understand it, we can see it, all of us fail with it one time or another, we either overreact or we underreact, we don’t see a danger, and then it’s too late, or we jump at something and if it’s dangerous when it’s not there. For example, right now, we have a clear indication that there is danger and the danger can be life-threatening for certain people. So we understand this. Maybe one more concept that is worthwhile to understand is that immunity is a complex topic. For example, in the body, if certain sales want to protect themselves, they recognize, and they understand that they are part of a whole system. 

Our Emotional State Influences the Immune System

There is interdependence between the cells. There is a community of cells that creates the body. We are right now facing the same issue. What is dangerous to us is dangerous to every other human being around us. We are all in it together. We are all in the same boat, each of us in a different way, each of us with different consequences. We understand this, we understand that we need to mobilize as a community. In this sense, having an open heart, supporting each other, being kind to each other is very important. We know that happiness and laughter strengthened the immune system protects us. Obviously it’s not always easy when we are stressed, when we may have just lost our job. When we don’t know what would happen to our family. When we have somebody sick at home with old it’s naturally stressful, we have to recognize it. 

We have to acknowledge it and allow ourselves to have these feelings, but also understanding the greater context that we have to mobilize is the whole community. 

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