How Happiness Affects the Immune System

Did you know that your mood can affect the way your immune system functions? As you know, our immune system helps to keep us healthy. It fights off various invaders and keeps us from getting sick. Pretty great, but what happens to your immune system when you’re under a lot of stress? Or suffering from depression?

Studies during the 1980s and early 1990s revealed that the brain is directly wired to the immune system — portions of the nervous system connect with immune-related organs such as the thymus and bone marrow, and immune cells have receptors for neurotransmitters, suggesting that there is crosstalk. It’s even been scientifically shown that happiness can alter your genes!  A team of researchers at UCLA showed that people with a deep sense of happiness and well-being had lower levels of inflammatory gene expression and stronger antiviral and antibody responses. This falls into the realm of epigenetics—changing the way your genes function by turning them off and on.

Negative mental states, like loneliness and stress guide immune responses by driving broad programs of gene expression, shaping our ability to fight disease. Negative emotional states have also been linked to higher levels of inflammation in the body. We now know that higher levels of inflammation have been linked to heart disease, cancer, chronic pain, and Alzheimer’s to name a few.

What can you do?

  1. Practice Gratitude- Keep a gratitude journal and jot down a few things everyday that you are grateful for. It can be as simple or as complex as you like. Gratitude is linked to happiness. By being thankful for what you already have, it allows you to appreciate it and turn around negative thought patterns.
  2. Meditation- It relaxes the mind and body and lowers level of stress.
  3. Exercise outside- Studies have shown that a 30 minute walk outside in the sunshine is as effective as antidepressants.
  4. Spend time outside in nature- Studies have shown that wali
  5. Massage- lowers stress responses in the body and can also act as a boost to immune function.
  6. Heal relationships- Examine your relationships. Negative friendships? Work on healing and improving.
  7. Self-improvement- Do you have areas in your life that you aren’t satisfied with? Unfulfilled dreams? Career goals? What can you do to put yourself in a situation that brings you fulfillment?

5th Annual Generations Patient Party

 

A couple of weeks ago we held our 5th annual Patient Appreciation Party at The Garden Room. This is a fun and relaxed evening filled with amazing local food from Farmer’s Table Cafe and live music from musician Matt Jones. The party is to honor our lifetime patients. These are patients that have chosen to make their health and wellness a priority by starting a second plan of care. Some of these guys have been patients since shortly after Dr. Denny and Dr. Mandy started their practice.

There was a great crowd and lots of new friendships were made.

 

Some studies show that people who have multiple social connections and spend time with others, get sick less often, sleep better, live longer, and have less cognitive decline as they age. All of those health benefits from just hanging out with other people that you like and that like the same things you do.

One of our FAVORITE patients thought Dr. Denny would look better with a goatee.

Dr. Denny doesn’t disappoint as a chiropractor or a friend. He always has your back. 🙂

 

P.S. Check out #generationspatientparty2017 on instagram to find other fun pictures from a fun night!

Get outside!

14089096_10209022019360054_2519529318945794717_n

This is George. He’s my dog and he’s pretty energetic. He LOVES going for walks. This is his, “WALK!” face. 🙂

A few days ago our weather felt like a lovely day in April instead of January, so George and I took advantage of that fact and took a walk at lunchtime. That wasn’t my plan for lunchtime though, I intended on running errands, starting laundry, and doing other various ‘mom’ things during my lunch break. I almost did all of those other things, but when I walked to my car from the office and saw the lovely blue sky and felt the warmth of the sun, I decided all of my other stuff could wait. It was a good reminder that wellness is more than just eating all of the right foods and exercise. Wellness means being outside in nature too. During my walk I soaked up that sunshine and just enjoyed being outside and moving. It was a huge boost to my mood and well-being.

Even if the weather is cold, still bundle up and get outside and absorb some of those benefits. Did you know that Dr. Mandy walks Jude to school every morning? If it’s cold, they run. 🙂

 

 

 

Resolutions: Make a Plan

It’s that time of year again! We are only a few days away from a new year which for some people means making resolutions. Again. This usually involves the same few resolutions or some variation of them.

Lose weight!
Be more productive!
Exercise!
Spend more time with my family!
Advance my career!
Become debt free!

You get the idea. These resolutions or some variation of them end up on most people’s lists. If they make one. That’s right, most people who make resolutions speak them but they don’t write them down and they don’t make a plan. If you were planning to take your family on a trip to Disney World in 2017, would you just say, “We’re going to Disney World!” NO. You would get on the website and decide on dates and which parks you would want to visit and where you would want to stay. You would make a written plan. Not only that, you would probably figure out a basic itinerary. You wouldn’t just wait until check-in time to figure out which parks you will visit on what day and which rides you want to do, this will be planned out weeks if not months in advance. It’s a process. We need to treat our resolutions and our goals the same way.

You won’t lose weight if you just say “I’m going to lose weight this year.” Make a plan. Start talking to yourself. Trust me.

Me: I’m going to lose weight in 2017!
Self: How are you going to lose weight?
Me: I’m going to exercise more and make healthier choices!
Self: When are you going to exercise and how much?
Me: In the mornings!
Self: So you’re going to need to get up earlier, that means you need to go bed earlier.
Me: Oh yeah….Bedtime is a priority!

You get the idea. Keep asking yourself questions until you have a specific goal and a specific plan.

Keep it real though. We all know that realistically we aren’t going to lose 30 pounds in a couple of weeks. Make sure you give yourself enough time to succeed.

Be willing to make changes to make your goals attainable. Do you need to go to bed a little earlier so you are well rested enough to get up and exercise in the mornings? Make your bedtime a priority. Do you need to stop eating lunch out so much to free up the funds to pay for a gym membership or a few fitness classes?

Always remind yourself that lasting change takes time, whether you are trying to make healthier choices or turn around negative thought patterns and negative behaviors. You didn’t get to where you are right at this moment overnight. You won’t get to where you want to be overnight either. You will get there one step at a time.