What compromises our immune system: Alcohol
1). The affect of alcohol
Alcohol affects the way health gut microbes interact with the immune system, so this is a direct hit on our immune system. It also disrupts the guts natural barrier, allowing more bacteria to pass on into the blood….. your gut microbes plays a role in fighting diseases. So when you drink a lot of alcohol it has a negative effect on your digestive system by damaging epithelial cells in your intestines, making it harder to absorb many nutrients it also disturbs your guts microbiome and significantly altering the balance of healthy and unhealthy bacteria. We know that these rouge bacteria affects and inflames the liver and can cause it damage, alcohol also affects our respiratory system having effects on our lungs and upper respiratory system, increasing your risk of a potentially fatal illness such a pneumonia, tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases of which is an added worry due to Covid-19.
We have 3 important cells in our immune system, macrophages, T and C cells, Microphages are our first line in defence against disease, T and C cells are our antibodies, they are the reason why vaccines work and why you do not get chicken pox twice.
These are affects of heavy drinking over time, but binge drinking can be just as damaging, we are all at home some of us all the time at present and it is just so easy to have a glass of wine, a beer whilst just doing that job etc, it is a time to be mindful as alcohol has a sneaky way of becoming a habit, it is its job! our brain likes the feeling of the alcohol especially if we are lonely worried or stressed it releases endorphins that make us feel loved and comforting when we may feel low or fed up. Just the thought of a glass of wine can trigger them, once they have been triggered we give ourself the permission to have that glass of wine/beer and we are off, before we actually reach for the bottle you will see it in your mind our visualisation plays a big part in this way, you will see it and it will be in a good way never the head down the toilet or the morning after reaching for the tablets to relieve that awful headache, never!!! it will be in a nice setting of your choice and most likely ice cold, drinking with friends, family loved ones, fond memories….
Now most people can enjoy a nice relaxing drink and not have to drink to excess, interestingly though the more you practise mindfulness relaxation the less you will want or feel the need to drink as living a mindful life and being relaxed is much more beneficial to long term mental wellness, making drinking alcohol just a social activity. The reason for this is that alcohol, although we are sold on the idea (which is a very important part of how we see alcohol !! ) it relaxes us , it actually is a stimulant for our body, our heart and other organs work harder because it is in our system, what it actually does is dumbs down our brains and the activity allowing you to pause and that is the relaxing effect, so you see people struggling with anxiety depression ADHD etc will find this a good tool, it does become a vicious circle as drink also is know as a depressant.
Leading a mindful life:
Options: Relaxation, meditation, self hypnosis, mediative walk, reading, drawing, colouring, yoga daily, by making time 20 minutes for any of these activities, ( you can do longer if preferred )
it is putting the importance on them like you do, exercising, socialising, working and looking after your home, why should it not hold an important place in your everyday life, it has so many benefits and keeps you mentally and physically well, ask yourself that again why don’t I make time for something so important?
Meditation is known for, Improving your health, reducing stress, alleviating anxiety and depression, helping you get a great nights sleep,
Uncover your greater sense of meaning and purpose, experience more positive emotions, gain perspective, strengthen your relationships.
Relaxation this is a skill once learned you will feel more relaxed in your every day life generally, under times of stress, workload, family pressures, illnesses relaxation can lessen chronic pain such as back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome, insomnia and helping you to take optimum advantages of everyday situations.
Self Hypnosis This is about using trance which is a very normal activity for the human brain to set positiveness into your life, and accessing your unconscious mind of which all our learnings come from, our behaviour our values and beliefs. We can fine tune them or change them by using hypnosis with a professional, but we are able to set change positive suggestions into our mind with self hypnosis.
Mediative walking taking a walk is never a bad thing it is good for our body joints and mind, mediative walking is being very aware of what is around you whilst walking, it can be looking at the sky the formation of clouds, noticing the buildings or fields around you, the different colours of grass, if by a stream the sound of running water, the sound of the breeze or pit pat of the rain as you walk, focusing the mind maybe putting your phone on silence and not looking at it until your walk is over.
Reading, Drawing or Colouring all these things allow your mind to focus and be still away from stress worry or addiction, the creativeness of imagination with reading fills your mind with the subject so you are having a peaceful time form usual chatter in your mind, we all have self talk. Drawing is creative in a. Way you can lose yourself as is colouring, during these activities your mind will enter a mediative state, producing positivity.
Yoga Yoga for many generations have brought positivity and enlightenment, bringing us to being at one with our mind and body. Other benefits are relaxation, increased flexibility, increased muscle strength, improved respiration, energy and vitality, maintaining a balanced metabolism, weight reduction, cardio and circulatory health, improved athletic performance, protection from injury. Yoga and meditation together brings about mental clarity and calmness with all the physical benefits.
I would like you to ask yourself the question now after reading this, which is the best way for me to relax reduce stress and anxiety. Is it reaching for the bottle of wine or beer or would you like to take steps on brining in a more mindful way of life to support your immune system for many years to come.
I hope you have found this article helpful I would like to see you having a wonderful mindful relaxing life. You can access relaxation on my website via colour breathing or facebook if you would like any other recording please contact me.