Influence of your mood on the immune system
Sometimes it feels that troubles come in threes, and when you are under a lot of stress big chances are you’re going to catch a cold, stomach bug or something even worse. But is it just a superstition, or there is a real scientific explanation to this phenomena?
As it turns out your mind indeed has a great power over your health and immune system. You’ve noticed how vulnerable your body becomes to infections and diseases and researchers from Carnegie Mellon University has proved this with a study over participants infected with a common cold virus, which showed that those who has been under the stress were two times more vulnerable to the virus.
What’s even more is that when you actually get sick, stress can make your symptoms worse and recovery longer.
All of this is explained with interconnections between cortisol (stress hormone) and inflammation, which is partly regulated by it. During the stress cortisol “is needed somewhere else” and while this is happening inflammation is not in chains anymore.
Our immune system’s cells cannot respond correctly to hormonal control, when we are under stress, thus resulting in producing more inflammation which intensifies the disease.
If you don’t fully understand what inflammation is, well, it’s enough for you to know just this – it plays a major role in majority diseases like asthma, cardiovascular, autoimmune disorders. So when stress triggers inflammation, it may trigger all this jolly company as well.
But there is a silver lining in this too – the same mechanism that makes our negative thoughts weaken our system, allows our positive thinking to strengthen it. Overall happiness, optimism and positive emotions lower the risk of many diseases, especially those that are connected to the heart.