Researchers from the University of Wisconsin have found that there is a direct correlation between feelings and the immune system: optimism strengthens the immune system. A specific brain region, the prefrontal cortex, influences the body's defenses. And: Anyone who laughs a lot, boosts the body's own hormone production, hormones that reduce stress and relieve pain. Why laughing is so healthy.
Emotions affect the immune system
"But you quickly recovered, " the doctor praised his patient. "Yes, I have also strictly adhered to what was on the medicine bottle." - "And what was there?" - "Keep the bottle tight." If you have a little grin now, you could record this brain activity.
For positive emotions such as happiness, laughter, or enthusiasm, the cerebral cortex just behind the forehead, the prefrontal cortex, is heavily involved. For the first time, scientists have shown how the immune system is affected by emotions.
More antibodies in a positive mood
Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin has done so in 52 subjects. His study, reported by the American journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, proves that there is a direct link between the positive feelings and the immune system.
The subjects, women between the ages of 57 and 60, either had to report on their worst or happiest experience and write about it for five minutes. The researchers recorded before and then the patterns of activity in the brain of women. And found out: The positive experiences activate the left part of the prefrontal cortex, the negative feelings activate the right part.
Subsequently, all participants received a flu shot. Over a period of six months, the doctors controlled the antibodies of the subjects: in fact, the women who had written the positive experiences and their left part of the cortex was more active, had more antibodies in the blood than the subjects with the negative experiences.
Endorphins - endogenous drugs for happiness and pain
"Whoever smiles three times in the morning, does not frown at noon, and sings in the evening that it sounds loud, turns one hundred and twenty years old." This truism from the vernacular can be proven by numerous scientific studies.
So one knows that the body is able to produce hormones that attenuate or suppress certain nerve impulses, such as pain. These endorphins act like morphine. Joggers know that: after a long run, a feeling of happiness sets in, pain and effort are forgotten. Even when dancing, meditating or imagining a situation that is happy, the body releases the happy hormones.
Laughter therapy in the hospital
In some clinics, especially in paediatrics, doctors specifically use "laughing therapy" to reduce the fear of surgery for the little patient. It has also been scientifically proven that the laughing patients need less painkillers.
In addition to sports and lots of exercise in the fresh air, positive thinking, laughing and singing so everyone can do something for his health - and maybe leave some medicine bottle closed!