STYLE

How Happiness Protects Against A Cold

07/01/2011 15:01 | Updated 22 May 2015

Feel a cold coming on? Quick! Think happy thoughts. I'm not joking. (Terribly) serious scientific research shows that active, positive and chilled out people are less likely to catch a cold than those unhappy with their lot.

Flickr, Tetsumo

A study at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, USA, got together 354 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 54 years old and gave them a squirt up the nose of rhinovirus - the germ that causes the common cold.

Beforehand, each person was assessed for their tendency to experience positive, and negative emotions.

Tests clearly showed that the upbeat members of the group were more resistant to the virus than the ones with "a negative emotional style" as the researchers put it.

What does this mean for you?

That how you think can help keep you red nose and snot-free this winter. That your mind has a direct impact on your health and wellbeing.

"If you're free from stress, your immune system is able to fight disease more rapidly" says psychology professor Dr Sheldon Cohen, who lead the study.

What do you need to change?

What do you need to change about yourself to cut down negative thoughts and feelings? What's in the way of you and happiness? No matter how big it seems, it's all moveable when you put your mind to it (pun intended) and know who to ask for help.

There's a lot of wise advice out there about how to destress, be more positive and enjoy life. I recommend Authentic Happiness (£8, Free Press) by Martin Seligman, Fiona Harrold's Be Your Own Life Coach (£8.99, Mobius), and The Journey by Brandon Bays (£12, Harper Elements), all of which have had a profoundly healing effect on the way I see myself and the world.

So, next time someone asks if you know of a good cure for a cold say: "Yes, I do; change the way you look at things. Stop moaning (about the symptoms), and start looking at everything that's positive in your life."

Proven advice that can't be sniffed at.

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