The COVID-19 virus has become something that people are terrified of getting. In response to this fear, people are hoarding everything from meat to toilet paper. However, being so afraid has an unexpected consequence, the lowering of the immune system’s ability to fight off disease.
This article will focus on the effects of fear on the human body and ways we can mitigate the danger that stress causes when there is a potentially fatal virus floating around.
Stress Hormones and the Human Immune System
The human body has a wonderful way of responding to danger. This response involves the amygdala and neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) and how they affect the body.
When frightened, the amygdala recognizes the danger first and shoots out chemical signals to other parts of the body that triggers a cascade of releases in stress hormones.
These hormones trigger responses in our bodies that include all of the following:
- The heart rate increases
- The blood pressure increases
- Blood is stolen from the digestive system for the legs and arms
- The body is flooded with epinephrine and norepinephrine