Below are cited studies that confirm positivity is linked to better health. Before you read ahead, give me this. Put cynicism aside. Open your mind to possibility. Ready? Let’s go.
Most of us have heard that stress and depression can have a negative affect on our bodies, and in particular, our immune system. Maybe at one point or another someone has said ‘mind over matter’ will help you strive. Or perhaps they told you about the theory on how it takes more muscles to frown than to smile (meaning your body has to work harder for the latter), but there’s really no way to tell with that one.
What they can prove is that positive emotion can help prevent illness.
One study included a 193 people aged 21-55 who were “exposed by nasal drops to a rhinovirus or influenza virus and monitored in quarantine for objective signs of illness and self-reported symptoms.” They focused on “positive emotional state characterized by being happy, lively, and calm” and “negative emotional style characterized by being anxious, hostile, and depressed,” proving that those that were emotionally positive were “associated with lower risk of developing an upper respiratory illness.”
A few years earlier than this, as reported, scientists in another study said that “brain activity can control resistance to influenza.” They confirmed that there is “a direct link between the brain’s emotional state and the body’s immune defenses to explain why depressed people are more likely to catch a cold.”
The study focused on the part of the brain that is above the left eye, which appeared to “play a critical role in directing the body’s immune system.” People who are more positive have higher levels of activity in this part of their brain than those who are the opposite.
Here’s my takeaway:
I don’t think there’s a switch for you to be automatically positive. I wish there were. But, that’s why I do what I do – to help people increase positivity, possibility and performance by helping to make their personality Shine. So, science has proven something I believe in – sweet. That feels great. More importantly, while it’s not easy to deal with depression (and if you are, please seek help from a therapist – I have resources if you need them) it is easy to make a choice to do one thing that can open your mind to optimism and start to stimulate happiness. So, hopefully this is that first step for you, or maybe for someone you share this with who it can help.