Don’t Worry, Be Happy, and Get Less Colds

From the centre for the Advancement of Health comes a July 23, 2003 article published on InteliHealth, that according to a recent study, people who are energetic, happy and relaxed are less likely to catch colds, while those who are depressed, nervous or angry are more likely to complain about cold symptoms.

Sheldon Cohen, Ph.D., of Carnegie Mellon University and colleagues, writing in the July issue of Psychosomatic Medicine noted that of those in his study participants who had a positive emotional style weren’t infected as often and experienced fewer symptoms compared to people with a negative emotional style.

Cohen’s research team interviewed 334 healthy volunteers three evenings a week for two weeks to assess their emotional states. The volunteers described how they felt that day in three positive-emotion areas: vigor, well-being and calm. They were also questioned about three categories of negative feelings: depression, anxiety and hostility. After their assessment, each volunteer got a squirt in the nose of a rhinovirus, the virus that causes most common colds. The researchers kept the subjects under observation for five days to see whether or not they became infected and how they manifested symptoms.

“We found that experiencing positive emotions was associated with greater resistance to developing a common cold,” Dr. Cohen reports. Interestingly enough, further analysis of this study revealed that good health practices and lower levels of certain hormones did not account for the link between positive emotional style and illness. So, if you want to avoid cold just follow the advice of the famous song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”.

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