Get The Last Laugh On Colds   

Get The Last Laugh On Colds


Want to stay healthy? Put on a happy face.

Researchers have found that people who have more positive emotions, such as happiness and calmness, have fewer colds than glum people. The finding appears in a recent issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.

"We found that people high on positive emotional style were less likely to develop colds than people who were low,” says study author, a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

"Laughter really is the best medicine," says psychiatrist of William Beaumont Hospital in Michigan. "Good mental health precedes good physical health."


At the start of the study, 334 volunteers were tested to make sure none had colds. They were then interviewed by phone three nights a week for 2 weeks. The researchers asked them to rate on a scale of 0 to 4 how closely a particular emotion described how they had felt during the day. The nine positive emotions were: lively, full of pep, energetic, happy, pleased, cheerful, at ease, calm and relaxed. The nine negative emotions were: sad, depressed, unhappy, on edge, nervous, tense, hostile, resentful and angry. The researchers then averaged the emotions from all of the interviews. People who scored high on positive emotions were said to have a positive emotional style, while people who scored high on negative emotions had a negative emotional style.

For the last week of the study, the participants were quarantined. Using nasal drops, the researchers placed a virus that causes the common cold into the volunteers' noses, and then monitored them for signs of infection and symptoms of a cold for 5 days.


People with positive emotional style weren't less likely to be infected with the cold germs. However, they were less likely to show any symptoms of being ill than people who scored low in positive emotional style, the researchers say.

Having a negative emotional style didn't increase the risk of getting sick, but these people tended to complain more symptoms they did have.

The researchers also found people with positive emotional style had better health habits, such as exercising, eating well and getting enough sleep, and they had lower levels of three stress hormones.

He says the researchers controlled for these factors and still found an association between positive emotions and fewer cold symptoms. He explains that chemical mediators, such as histamine and pro-inflammatory cytokines, are responsible for cold symptoms. And he suspects positive emotions may dampen the production of these mediators. So, can the power of positive thinking keep you healthy? Maybe, but he cautions that this study couldn't define if the people who scored high in positive emotions during this study have always been happy people, or if they were simply in a good period of their lives during the research.

He believes people can make themselves happier. He adds that it's important that you don't keep your emotions bottled up and that you take time to do things you enjoy.

Stress and emotions do affect our immune responses. If we're comfortable and happy, then we'll live longer and healthier lives.

1. Wash your hands frequently.
2. Don’t smoke.
3. Throw away used tissues immediately.
4. Keep your stress under control.
5. When cleaning, use paper towels instead of cloth ones.
6. Avoid touching your face. 


Happy reading,

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