How Happiness Makes You Healthy

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Want to feel better and improve your health? Start by focusing on the things that bring you happiness. Scientific evidence suggests that positive emotions can help make life longer and healthier. Research demonstartes not only that the mind and body are connected, but that they are intimately and inextricably intertwined.

But fleeting positive emotions aren’t enough. Lowering your stress levels over a period of years with a positive outlook and relaxation techniques could reduce your risk of health problems.

According to Livestrong, what finally clinched the argument was psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), a field of science that studies the interaction between your mind, brain and immune system:

“One of the first PNI studies was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1991 [2]. In this study, researchers asked a large group of people to fill out surveys and then gave them a nasal spray with either the common cold virus or saline (subjects didn’t know which one they were getting). The researchers found that the people who reported more stress developed a full-on cold, while the ones who were less stressed were better able to fight it off, regardless of the person’s age, weight, diet or other factors.”

So what can you do? What can you do? Well, just as your master glands release immune-suppressing hormones whenever you feel stressed or worried, they also have the ability to release immune-boosting hormones when you feel happy or relaxed. Even five minutes of laughter or happiness can significantly boost your number of white blood cells, our natural killer cells.

Whether it’s releasing stress with exercise, laughing at a YouTube video or cuddling the family cat, Livestrong showed how radical-remission survivors make getting a daily dose of happy hormones a top priority, right up there with taking fish-oil supplements or their prescribed drugs. And since boosting the immune system is a smart idea for all people who want to be healthy (not just cancer patients), go ahead and goof off today — even if it’s just for five minutes.

To see the full results of the study, check out the full article on Livestrong here.

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