Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Happy Makes You Healthy

Does attitude affect health? As a small business owner, do you have this belief?
Can being optimistic about your future be good for you? Even in tough times?

New research gives more data to confirm the connection.

An article this week in Psychological Science confirms your attitudes affect your immune system. Suzanne C. Segerstrom and Sandra E. Sephton conducted an interesting study with first year of law school students. The first year of law school is regarded as one of the stressful times.

Five times over the school year students completed questionnaires. The surveys asked about optimism for their academic performance. They also received skin tests that measure cellular immune function.

The test results reveled that changes in optimism are accompanied by changes in cellular immune function. The more optimistic the more positive the cellular immune response. Other studies show these positive responses have been associated with decreased mortality in surgical patients. This study showed the positive affect of optimism.

However, this relationship between optimism and immunity is partially mediated by positive, but not negative, affect. These findings support the validity of psychological interventions to improve immunity and health, especially if they increase positive affect.

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