Staying Immune By Staying Positive

Think back to the last time you had a bad cold; you likely had less energy than usual and not much enthusiasm for anything. As the days dragged on, you may have even experienced a sense of helplessness. Reverse roles and consider the last time you were in a bad mood. Did you also have a headache or an upset stomach to go with the bad mood? This is no coincidence – the mind/body connection is stronger than many of us think!  

It not just me that's saying it either - a growing number of studies suggest that there is a much stronger link between mind, body and good health than people thought.  

What is the mind/body connection?

Imagine you are weighing two bags of sugar (bear with me on this!) on some scales. You're trying to get the scales balanced so you know that both bags of sugar weigh the same. Now swap the sugar for your mind and your body. When the two things are healthy and in balance, you feel great and life is a joy.

However, when one or the other is weighing down one end of the “scale”, you feel unhealthy, tired, unmotivated and miserable. To put it another way – the mind and body are intimately connected and what affects one affects the other.  

Helping ourselves

For me, getting the balance right starts with good mental health. Feeling good about yourself “upstairs” has all kinds of benefits for your well-being and can directly affect your immune system.
The brain produces a number of substances that affect your health, including endorphins, which are natural painkillers, and gamma globulin, which boosts your immune system. The amount of these that are released depends on how you're feeling - a positive attitude helps your brain produce them efficiently when you need them most.  
Scientists haven’t really figured out the mechanisms behind the mind/body connection as they are complex, but that doesn't mean you can't formulate some strategies to help you stay in tip-top mental condition. Reduce stress by exercising, eating well and enforcing positive messages about yourself and you may see drastic improvements in your health and well-being.
You won’t be able to eliminate every bad mood or stressor in your life, but you can take action to preserve your mental health and ensure a healthier body.  

Stay positive, look after your self-esteem and stay healthy!

Emma x


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