The Ailment: Cuts, scrapes, and bruises
The Mental Medicine: Good deeds
A Good Samaritan act can speed your recovery by at least a day. "Healing is delayed an additional day by hostile interactions," says Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry at Ohio State University. "But a positive interaction boosts cytokines — chemicals that recruit cells that are needed for making repairs — in the area around the wound."
Your therapy: Surprise your mate with dinner, or send a card to your grandma or a check to your favorite charity. Pay it forward and you'll be cured in no time.
The Ailment: Heart Disease
The Mental Medicine: Optimism
Purging pessimism can help your ticker. Men who scored high on an optimism test were 55 percent less likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those with defeatist dispositions, says a study in Archives of Internal Medicine.
Your therapy: Start by taking a weekly inventory of what you're grateful for — friends, family, anything — and avoid feeling resentful about what you still don't have. Focusing on gratitude increases optimism, according to a recent study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
The Ailment: Muscle injury
The Mental Medicine: Visualization
Imagine a workout to boost recovery. Just visualizing lifting weights can actually build muscle, speeding healing, say Cleveland Clinic researchers. In their study, men who visualized working out their biceps saw a 13 percent increase in muscle mass — without lifting a single weight.
Your therapy: For 15 minutes a day, imagine exercising your injured muscle, clearly visualizing the muscle. Imagine every detail — the pressure, the range of motion, the muscle flexing and stretching, says sports psychologist Trent Petrie, Ph.D.
The Ailment: Fatigue
Mental Medicine: Hearing music
Just like listening to the radio when you're red-eyed on the road, tuning in to music at your desk will help you focus on the task at hand, Japanese researchers found. Music triggers a relaxation response, muffling unproductive temptations and letting you tackle your work, says Larry McCleary, M.D., author of The Brain Trust Program.
Your therapy: Plug in to your iPod or call up pandora.com when you feel a dip. It doesn't matter what type of music you listen to, as long as it's something you choose, research shows.