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How to Get the Best From Your Immune System - Smarter Living Guides
2019 | The New York Times | By Matt Richtel.

**“An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System.”"

The immune system is much less about exercising power than it is about finding balance. You can help train and maintain it. Here’s how:
(A) What Is the Immune System?
Our great defense system helps ward off the most dangerous of invaders......It is a common misconception that the immune system goes to war with every foreign organism. That would lead to scorched earth, nuclear winter. Instead, the job of the immune system is to take stock, monitor, assess and judge potential threats...if an invader is deemed a threat, the immune system has a narrow job: destroy the threat while doing as little collateral damage as possible. This response from the immune system is called “inflammation.” .....inflammation can feel like a stuffy nose, sore throat, tummy ache, fever, fatigue or headache. Yes, the symptoms of an immune response feel lousy, but you must suffer a little to keep the rest of your body healthy over the long term. And for your health and daily well-being, the key is to keep your immune system from underperforming or getting out of hand.
(B) IT’S ABOUT BALANCE
The immune system, often seen as a ruthless defender, seeks a steady state, not a police state.....a fiercely delicate combination of a bouncer and a ballet dancer. In fact, many molecules in this complex system are designed to send a signal that it should withdraw, pause an attack and stand down. Without these molecules, the state of inflammation that helps destroy threats would lay your body to waste..... Instead of boosting your immune system, you should be supporting it. And you should try to never undermine its delicate structures.
(C) The Immune System and the Beast
Let's take a moment to understand how (and why) our immune system acts in the face of a threat.....Our immune system took shape roughly 480 million years ago. All jawed vertebrates going back to the shark share its key properties. One property is priority setting.....an acute threat, e.g. a lion attack, the body’s network focuses wholly on that threat....the body goes into an emergency state known colloquially as “fight or flight.” During these periods, the body fires off powerful chemicals, including:

Epinephrine, which creates a kind of high for the body to subvert fatigue.
Norepinephrine, which also helps to subvert fatigue.
Cortisol, which helps the body maintain essential functions, like blood flow.

When these hormones are at work, we can feel generally O.K.,but .... the release of these fight-or-flight hormones dampens our immune response. ...it causes the immune system to withdraw.
(D) WHY THE IMMUNE SYSTEM WITHDRAWS
During times of real, acute stress — like threat of being eaten by a lion — our bodies can ill afford to waste resources dealing with illness. Viruses and bacteria, while dangerous, pale in comparison to the gigantic beast with razor-sharp teeth chasing us across the savannah. In that moment, our body needs all our energy, non-essential functions be damned. Step one: survive lion. Step two: deal with head cold.
(E) Sleep Is a Magic Bullet
Both you and your immune system need rest. ...If you don’t sleep, you will die — sooner. Studies show that lack of sleep leads to premature death through diseases like cancer and heart disease, and the reasons have everything to do with the immune system,
(F) SLEEP KEEPS YOUR SYSTEM IN BALANCE
This might sound contradictory. How can sleep can weaken the immune system, but also lead to inflammation?

Your immune system does not work as a binary system. It is not either on or off. It is made up of many molecules that send different signals, some urging inflammation and others restraining it. Your goal is to create an environment that doesn’t require your immune system to lose its natural balance.

Sleeplessness tips your immune system out of balance, hinders homeostasis, and turns the once elegant system into reckless pinballs of powerful molecules bouncing off your body’s bumper rails, and sometimes through them.

More concretely, it is a hard pill to swallow knowing there is no pill to swallow. The most important steps to support your immune system require discipline and habit.
(G) Exercise, Food and Meditation
Ward off illness with these three staples of a healthy body. ...the best things you can do for yourself when you’re sick are rest, eat well, don’t turn little things into lions, and remember that your immune system, if given your support, will likely do a darn good job of keeping you at harmony with the world.
allergies  bacteria  books  defensive_tactics  exercise  food  habits  homeostasis  howto  immune_system  inflammation  meditation  mens'_health  mindfulness  priorities  self-discipline  sleep  sleeplessness  steady-state  threats  viruses 
june 2019 by jerryking
Hey, you: Stop multitasking and focus - The Globe and Mail
HARVEY SCHACHTER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Jul. 27 2014

New Jersey-based consultant Daniel Forrester believes we all have to find similar moments of contemplation to be more effective in our careers. “It’s about tapping into what makes us unique as human beings: reflection and conscience. The big innovations all are a product of reflection, getting a break from the tumult of immediacy that surrounds us,” he said in an interview.

The author of Consider: Harnessing the Power of Reflective Thinking in Your Organization was moved to study the issue when reading an article about the now-legendary “think weeks” that Bill Gates took as the head of Microsoft. Armed with cans of diet Orange Crush and a stack of documents with ideas and proposals, he would isolate himself in his cottage and spend time pondering future possibilities for his tech empire.

It’s a fascinating idea, but Mr. Forrester wondered why the CEO couldn’t manage to find reflection space in the office. “He’s Bill Gates. Why can’t he shut the door and get time to think?” he asked in an interview.

Mr. Forrester believes we have to change that tendency – and not only for CEOs, but for everyone. Reflection, he explained, is the space between data and meaning.

It starts with think weeks, proper vacations and sabbaticals to refresh and reflect. Our brains continue to work on issues even at rest, and the subconscious can come up with some electrifying findings. So it’s vital that a vacation be a true vacation, rather than pushing an employee, through social pressure or direct orders, to check e-mail a dozen times a day.
books  contemplation  creative_renewal  focus  Harvey_Schachter  immediacy  innovation  meditation  monotasking  multitasking  reading  reflections  sabbaticals  slack_time  strategic_thinking  sustained_inquiry  thinking  timeouts 
july 2014 by jerryking
More Reflection, Less Action
February 14, 2014 |NYT | By TONY SCHWARTZ.

Observation from President Obama, caught on an open mike during a stroll with Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain in 2008:

“The most important thing you need to do [in this job] is to have big chunks of time during the day when all you’re doing is thinking.”

Judgment is grounded in discernment, subtlety and nuance.... Good judgment grows out of reflection, and reflection requires the sort of quiet time that gets crowded out by the next demand.

Regular reflection also provides the space in which to decide what not to do. At the companies I visit, no topic comes up more frequently than prioritizing....Time to reflect is what makes it possible to prioritize.... a tools that ensures reflection and prioritization is an old-fashioned handwritten to-do list, with a twist. Download everything that’s on your mind – not just calls to make and emails to send, but also ideas you want to explore, conflicts you haven’t resolved, and longer-term projects you intend to pursue...If you can’t decide whether something is worth your time, I try to stop and answer two reflective questions – a task that ends up saving rather than costing time.

1. Could someone else do this just as well or better than I can? If so, I try to turn it over.

2. Is the time and energy I invest going to produce anything I’ll still consider worth having done a month from now?

We need less conventional wisdom and more genuine wisdom; less sheer output and more insights that add enduring value.
time-management  reflections  wisdom  work_life_balance  insights  priorities  lists  GTD  judgment  strategic_thinking  Obama  David_Cameron  thinking  timeouts  meditation  contemplation  discernment  subtlety  personal_energy  slack_time  monotasking  sustained_inquiry  Tony_Schwartz  nuanced 
february 2014 by jerryking

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