Happiness Cures the Common Cold

December 14, 2012

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Written By: 


Stuart Miles

Almost everyone knows someone that acts like they are dying when they have a couch and a sore throat. Perhaps it is you that complains continuously about your runny nose. Have you noticed that these people tend to be sick more often or for longer periods of time?

A study was done in 1997 through 2001 by Dr. Sheldon Cohen and other students and professors from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburg to test the idea of disposition playing a role in illness. They wanted to know if it was true that those with a “negative emotional style” (NES) had a higher risk for contracting the cold virus than those with a “positive emotional style” (PES).  The 334 subjects were given nasal shots of a rhinovirus for the common cold and observed in quarantine in separate rooms.  After blood tests, they discovered that the individuals with a PES showed lower levels of cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine which contribute to the lower risk for disease. They also exhibited less symptoms and more resistance to the virus.  The NES individuals exhibited more symptoms and less resistance due to higher levels of cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. So those people who always seem to be sick and miserable are probably sick because they are miserable. Next time you feel lousy busy yourself with things that make you happy. Take a walk in the woods or lay in the sun. Maybe you would rather just stay in and watch a funny movie with some friends. Feeling sorry for yourself will not make you feel better and it will annoy everyone around you. So make the best of it. Grin and bear it because it will help you recover faster!

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