The human body is an amazing creation. It works to protect you from biological invaders and harmful substances. Every day it defends against a hostile environment. Incredible though your body may be, it’s not infallible. It only has as many resources to protect you as you give it. The harsher you treat your body and the fewer healthy inputs you provide, the faster its defenses will start to fail. Additionally, some people start out life in a weaker state or have genetic conditions that compromise some of their natural protections. Health declines when the body can no longer fully protect itself from the outside world, and this in turn weakens its remaining defenses.
The term “stressor” refers to factors that negatively impact the body. Often, these are things the body reacts to as a threat or create damage the body must repair. Stressors include a wide range of factors such as pollution, alcohol or drug use, lack of sleep, poor diet, strenuous exercise, or an emotionally stressful environment. While a healthy body can defend itself against these negative impacts, it uses up resources doing so. If the body’s defenses can’t be repaired fast enough, due to lack of resources or an overwhelming onslaught of stressors, the protective barriers fail. As a result health is adversely affected. While weakened health might start with just one break in the body’s defenses, the body is then less able to defend against additional stressors. An unhealthy individual is more likely to suffer multiple ailments caused by unrelated stressors.
Poor health manifests as a wide variety of symptoms. Each person will experience this differently depending on what overwhelmed the body’s fortifications. Genetic makeup also affects how your body deals with handling these attacks. You may be able to get a sense of how poor health could manifest for you if you look at your family history; perhaps there is a trend for asthma, cancer, mental illness, heart disease, liver disease, GI troubles, auto-immune disorders, etc. Though the manifestation of failing health is complex and the symptoms are varied, the solution is simple: work to improve your health! Because every person has a different situation and lifestyle, this is also a complicated path best navigated with the help of a good doctor.
In order to start improving your health, first search for major stressors that may be impacting your life. Identifying these is important because they are directly affecting your health right now. Until you find them they will continue to break down your defenses and weaken your health. When the body is being attacked by invaders and toxins that made it through the defense barrier, the body will focus its energies on fixing the damage they cause. This means your body is expending energy and resources on fighting internal battles instead of repairing its fortifications against the outside world. Not all stressors can be removed from one’s life, so it’s important to prioritize what you can change!
Second, improve your lifestyle to give your body the help it needs. Beneficial habits include getting adequate sleep, eating well, and taking the time to relax and have fun. These lifestyle improvements give your body the resources it requires to heal and rebuild. Unfortunately, not every ailment can be healed by living healthier. For example, cancer will not go away just because you improved your lifestyle. That said, living healthier greatly improves the body’s chance of recovering from extreme treatments such as chemotherapy and surgery. Thus, even though a healthy lifestyle won’t cure all ills, it can help you recover alongside targeted treatment plans.
Limiting stressors and incorporating beneficial lifestyle changes gives your body the time and resources it needs to fix itself. By removing stressors the body can focus on healing. Improving your lifestyle grants the body access to more resources which it needs to repair the damage. This targeted approach gives you the best chance to recover and live a healthy life!