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Sick Again? It Might Be Due To Your Poor Lymphatic System

Sick Again? It Might Be Due To Your Poor Lymphatic System

Do you always seem to be sick with the sniffles, sneezing, runny nose, or cough? Ever had a virus when nobody else around you is sick? Being sick can be miserable. It’s important to get to the bottom of what makes you sick to avoid it in the future.

Chances are, you think your illnesses are related to allergies, viruses, or bacteria. While you might be right, the actual root of getting sick could be due to something often overlooked. You might actually have poor lymphatic health.

The Connection Between Poor Lymphatic Health and Getting Sick

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    The body’s lymphatic system is made up of tissues and organs that help eliminate toxins and waste. This system helps to transport lymph, a white blood cell filled fluid, through the body. In addition, lymph nodes produce extra white blood cells to fight off infections. Lymph nodes are located in the armpits, groin, and near the lungs and heart. In addition, your body’s spleen, tonsils, adenoids, appendix, and bone marrow produce white blood cells.

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    The lymphatic system, like any other biological system, can become overwhelmed and overworked due to an overabundance of toxins. When this happens, the whole system is backed up. This makes it hard for the lymph fluid to make its way around the body. When lymph cannot reach all of the body’s cells, the cells are unable to eliminate waste. This buildup of waste can lead to inflammation, fatigue, infection, and disease.

    Lifestyle Choices that Result in a Poor Lymphatic System

    So, now you know what the lymphatic system does and how its poor health can lead to your poor health. But how does the lymphatic system become congested? Lifestyle choices can have a drastic effect on the health of the lymphatic system.

    Here is a list of some lifestyle choices that result in a congested lymphatic system and poor health:

    1. A Sedentary Lifestyle

    Leading a sedentary lifestyle, one with little to no movement, creates obstacles for lymph movement. During exercise, the lymphatic system regulates tissue volume and pressure by returning fluids to the cardiovascular system. Lymphocyte production also increases when exercising.

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    Make sure to get as much exercise as often. Even something as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator can help keep your lymphatic system flowing.

    2. Dehydration

    Being dehydrated is another factor that can reduce the effectiveness of the lymphatic system and stagnate the lymph flow. A commonly accepted recommendation for daily water intake is 64 ounces. Without this, the body is unable to flush out waste and toxins.

    Try increasing your water intake to stay hydrated. You can do this by drinking water, unsweetened herbal teas, or by eating fruits (especially watermelon).

    3. An Unhealthy Diet

    Do you grab a bag of chips instead of an apple when you’re hungry? Exposing your body to processed, high fat foods can result in decreased lymphatic function. This decreased function causes increased infections. Try eating healthier options like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to encourage lymphatic activity.

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    4. Stress or Depression

    Stress and depression produce the stress hormone, cortisol in the body. An excess of this hormone can cause sluggish activity in the lymphatic system. Additionally, stress and depression have been linked to some types of cancer. This link is thought to occur because repetitive stress response impairs the lymphatic response.

    5. Digestive Problems

    Constant problems with upset stomach, diarrhea, and constipation can interfere with the lymphatic system as well. Diarrhea, for example, may cause the body to lose fluids and become dehydrated, leading to a loss of lymphocytes.

    To avoid this problem, try to regulate your digestive track. You can achieve this by eating a healthy, balanced diet and increasing your intake of probiotics. Probiotics can be found in yogurt.

    6. Processed Chemicals

    Being exposed to man-made chemicals can be particularly dangerous for lymphatic system health. Products like plastics, cans, pesticides, and scented hygiene products may introduce chemicals like BPA and parabens into the body. These chemicals may be difficult for the lymphatic system to expel. The extra work needed to eliminate these toxins may slow down lymph flow and lead to other illnesses or infections.

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    Conclusion

    Now that you have an idea of the lifestyle choices that can negatively influence your lymphatic system health, you can start making some changes. Focus on living a healthier lifestyle and keeping your lymph flowing freely. Changing some very small things in your life can make a big difference in your health.

    Featured photo credit: Mizianitka via pixabay.com

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    Amber Pariona

    EFL Teacher, Lifehack Writer, English/Spanish Translator, MPA

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    Last Updated on November 9, 2020

    10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

    10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

    Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

    Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

    Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

    If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

    Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

    1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

    Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

    Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

    Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

    2. No Motivation

    Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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    This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

    If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

    3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

    Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

    A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

    A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

    The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

    4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

    One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

    We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

    Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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    You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

    5. Upward Comparisons

    Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

    The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

    These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

    Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

    6. No Alternative

    This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

    Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

    Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

    Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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    7. Stress

    As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

    When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

    We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

    If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

    8. Sense of Failure

    People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

    Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

    Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

    If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

    9. The Need to Be All-New

    People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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    These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

    10. Force of Habit

    Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

    Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

    These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

    Final Thoughts

    These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

    There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

    More on Breaking Bad Habits

    Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
    [2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
    [3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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