A good immune system is the best guarantee for staying healthy, whereas our emotions influence our immune system on a large scale.
Emotions impact our health through many different pathways. During the 1980s, studies revealed that the brain is directly wired to the immune system. Furthermore, an effect of negative emotions such as depression and anxiety on the cells of the immune system in terms of the regulation of proinflammatory cytokine secretion has been found (Kiecolt-Glaser et al., 2002).
Negative emotions, therefore, suppress parts of the immune system. This does not only lead to a higher risk of infection in the short-term, but it also causes long-term problems through damaging levels of inflammation. Such long-term problems might be diseases like coronary heart disease (Glassman & Shapiro,1998), osteoporosis (Michelson et al.,1996) or cancer (Penninx et al.,1998). It seems clear that negative emotions have a negative impact on our health but what about positive emotions?
Does Happiness impact the immune system and therefore our health
in a positive way?
The short answer is yes. Various studies found an increase in the functioning of the immune system after a positive mood intervention (Marsland et al., 2007). Even though further research in the field of positive affect and the immune system is needed, the results are exciting. Such interventions were watching funny movies, listening to positive music or reflecting on positive personal experience. Emotions like joy, excitement and humour, therefore, make us more resistant. So, what do we do with all these scientific results now?
Well, first of all, think of something nice and heart-warming that happened to you during the last few days. As we just learned, the emotions triggered by this little exercise will improve your immune system. Then, think of possibilities to avoid negative emotions like anxiety. Improve your health by cutting out those negative thoughts and distractions and bring some Happiness into your life to stay healthy in the long-term.
Do you want to improve your Happiness day by day but just do not have the time to do the research and reading? We developed simple tools and tasks that will make you happier, more successful and healthier. Have a look at our Happiness Challenge or get in touch for further information.
The Happiness Management Institut is a Germany based reasearch and training institute.
Happiness Management Institut
Anne-Katrin Sträßer, Saskia Fehr
Phone: +49 89 200737 14
Bildquelle: Image by Magic Creative from Pixabay