Coronavirus Resistance and the Stress Factor

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Did you know that there is a link between the coronavirus and stress? Stress levels are higher than ever during these uncertain times, but it is important to understand that the more stressed out you are, the more susceptible you are to getting sick.

In this article, I’ll explain why stress decreases your resistance to the coronavirus and what to do to protect yourself.

I will cover:

Coronavirus COVID-19 text on toy sign with stop sign, toy airplane in background. Stop coronavirus.


Fight the virus by attacking its weaknesses

If the coronavirus is our current enemy, then we need to plan out a strategy for fighting it and winning the battle. And to do that, we have to understand its strengths and weaknesses.

Each specific virus has its unique strengths and its unique weaknesses. Here’s a summary for the coronavirus:

  • Strength: The major strength of the coronavirus is its ability to kill the elderly and people with preexisting health conditions. Put more simply, it can easily attack and harm people with weakened immune systems.
  • Weakness: The coronavirus doesn’t have much of an effect or influence over healthy people with healthy immune systems. If we have a healthy immune system, we have the upper hand.

Looking at these qualities of the coronavirus, it becomes clear that weak immune systems give the coronavirus the advantage, whereas healthy immune systems leave it pretty powerless.

So what should your strategy be for fighting the coronavirus? Strengthening your immune system.


Stress suppresses the immune system

Stressed out man holds hand to face, word clouds around with words like stress, worry, problems.

Stress is a major factor that impacts the immune system. When we are in a stressed state, our immune systems become weakened.

Stress spikes the stress hormone cortisol. And cortisol has a very interesting effect on the immune system. Acute stress (short term, as in an emergency) can protect the immune system, but chronic, long-term stress with elevated cortisol levels actually suppresses the immune system.

Your immune system is like your army and your wall of defense that protects you against viruses and pathogens. Stress reduces the strength of that army, and it pushes down the protective wall. As a result, stress increases your susceptibility to certain pathogens like the coronavirus.

Stress, worry, and fear are all bad for your immunity, and they can reduce your resistance to things like the coronavirus. Whether you feel a threat to your survival, you can’t see any solutions but only problems, or you feel overwhelmed by bad news, these can all negatively impact your immune system.

Do those fears and worries sound familiar right about now? Many people are understandably experiencing increased stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, managing your stress is one of the key things you can do to stay safe and healthy.

Cartoon drawing of human head with immunity shield around, protected from viruses and pathogens.


How to reduce stress and boost your immunity

As you can see, strengthening your immune system is one of the best ways you can protect yourself against the coronavirus.

Changing your diet and eating nutrient-dense foods is vitally important for keeping your immune system healthy. But you also need to keep your stress as low as possible.

Luckily, there are practical things you can do each and every day that can help you to ease the effects of stress on your body.

4 things you can do to reduce stress

Here are four of the best things you can do to keep stress low during the coronavirus outbreak:

1. Stay in action

One of my tops tips during stressful times is to stay active – both physically and mentally. Be productive with your time, check things off the to-do list, move your body, make exercise a priority, etc. Keeping in action can help to offset stress and stop it from taking over.

2. Stop exposing yourself to bad news

It is key to divert your attention away from the things that are causing you fear. Unfortunately, the news right now is full of scary stories and information that can feel overwhelmingly negative. This is not good for your stress levels.

If you are watching the news 24/7, it is likely adding to your stress and weakening your immune system. So turn off the news, avoid social media, and turn your attention to things that lift you up and make you feel good instead.

Wooden sign on side of mountain road with text “Time to Relax” and arrow.

3. Go on long walks

Long walks are excellent for relieving stress. This is one of the best daily activities you can do to keep your immune system strong, and it also can help boost your physical and mental health. Just be sure to practice social distancing measures and keep your distance from other people.

4. Keep creating a healthy body

When in a stressed state, it is vital to continue to eat a healthy diet that is good for your immune system and that can help you keep stress low. Unfortunately, many people tend to turn to junk foods when they get stressed.

But do your best to avoid stress eating junk food and sugar, because it will only make things worse. Keep choosing healthy foods (even when you are stressed) so that you can fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to keep its immune defenses strong. The keto diet and intermittent fasting are both great options for creating a healthy body. Learn about the best foods for stress here.


Coronavirus and stress: the key takeaways

It is important to be aware of the link between the coronavirus and stress. This is a stressful time for all of us, but it is more important than ever to pay attention to your stress and take action to intentionally reduce its effects.

Road sign of stressed or relaxed, arrows in both directions, “Choose Wisely” text.

Here are the main points to remember about the coronavirus and stress:

  • The coronavirus doesn’t have much power over people with strong immune systems. Boosting your immune health gives you the upper hand in the fight against COVID-19.
  • Stress suppresses the immune system and makes you more susceptible to the virus.
  • Decreasing stress is one of the best things you can do to protect against the coronavirus.
  • Staying active, reducing exposure to bad news, going on long walks, and focusing on creating health in your body with good dietary habits are all great ways to decrease stress and increase immunity.

Learn more about stress and how to get rid of it in this webinar. It’s one of the most important videos you can watch, where you’ll learn effective techniques to reduce stress, get rid of pain, sleep better, and get your body healthy.

Here are more tips on bulletproofing your immune system to stay healthy during these uncertain times.

What are you doing to relieve stress, fear, and worry during the COVID-19 pandemic? Share what has been working for you in the comments below.

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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