- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Your Brain And Your Immune System - Can You Really Think Yourself Well?
Comedies To Tickle Your Funny Bone.
Soothing Music For Those Ill And In Pain.
Just pick up any newspaper, turn to any local news channel, or log-on to the Internet, and you'll see that the flu season is in full swing!
How people choose to face the flu season however, is entirely up to their own personal preferences.
Some choose to get vaccinated, others choose to ride it out with the use of over-the-counter medication, while others opt for a more natural approach.
While the thought of a more natural approach toward getting rid of the cold or flu conjures up images of herbs and fresh, immune fighting, antioxidant rich produce, many often overlook another simple immunity builder - The brain.
* The Brain And The Immune System - What's The Link?
Extensive research has continued to show that the brain and the immune system "talk" to each other about the health (or lack of) of the individual, and that one's mind exercises a strong influence over one's body - immune system included.
In keeping with these studies, the June 1986 issue of National Geographic stated: "Immunologists are discovering more about the links between mind and body, the mechanisms of psychosomatic disease."
Science magazine also concurs, when it reported on the close link between the brain and the immune system: "A great deal of evidence shows that the two systems are inextricably interconnected.... The emerging picture shows that the immune and nervous systems are highly integrated, able to talk back and forth to coordinate their activities."
* Negative Vs. Positive Thinking - Its Affect On Our Well-being.
Taking in consideration that the brain and the immune system are in communicato with each other, it shouldn't come as a surprise then, that factors such as mental stress, depression, loneliness, and bereavement can negatively affect the workings of the white blood cells or lymphocytes. Thereby, reducing *T-cell activities which leads to illnesses.
If negative mental factors adversely affect the immune system, than what effect would a positive mental attitude have on the immune system?
In 1980, Dr. Robert Samp noted the results of a University of Wisconsin study which revealed that in addition to heredity and other vital factors, those with a positive (mental) outlook on life, as well as those who avoided prolonged periods of physical or mental stress, lived longer.
Living longer is one thing however. It's the type of mentality one posses during his/her lifetime that is just as vital.
This is why over twenty years ago, scientists at the State University of New York revealed that laughter (which is linked to a positive frame of mind) helps trigger the release of powerful hormones that energize a person's immune system.
In addition, one of the substances increased by laughter - cytokines - have been found to promote the activity of white blood cells, which are vital in warding off bacterial and viral infections and which destroy potential cancer cells - (Cytokines are critical to the development and functioning of both the innate and adaptive immune response, although not limited to just the immune system. They are often secreted by immune cells that have encountered a pathogen, thereby activating and recruiting further immune cells to increase the system's response to the pathogen - Wikipedia).
Positive thinking and good hardy laughter, has also been found to normalize imbalances in the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems; stabilizing the heartbeat and breathing; boosting the blood flow to muscles and increasing brain activity.
Giving the phrase "laughter is the best medicine" a whole new meaning.
* Positive Thoughts And Your Health - What You Can Do.
Given this information then, it seems plausible that although not a cure-all or substitute for other vital treatments, positive thinking can make a large impact on our all over physical health and well-being.
Whether it's the use of laughter, positive reaffirmations, an upbeat attitude, positive thinking, or even a simple smile (which has been found to produce an electrical stimulus that affects the pituitary gland - thereby, releasing endorphins, which essentially are chemical substances in the brain the makes you feel happy), - in addition to a healthy lifestyle - has been shown to be a great tool in getting and staying healthy.
So the next time your sick, in addition to your "get-better-regimen", think positive thoughts by....
1.) keeping in contact with your family and friends (via phone and e-mail of course - to prevent making them ill)
2.) telling yourself you're going to get better
3.) watching a comedy
4.) reading the comics
5.) telling a joke or listening to one
6.) reminiscing over good times shared with friends and family
7.) sending yourself some flowers
8.) reading the get-well cards you've received (if you havent' received any new ones, read ones received from previous illness - in the event you've saved any)
9.) since smells affects one's mood as well, surrounding yourself with smells that bring you joy (such as lavender, gingerbread, or homemade apple pie scented fragrance diffusers)
10.) listening to soothing music
11.) getting a massage (touch has a very powerful effect on one's mental and physcial well-being - http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Power-Of-The-Human-Touch)
Who knows, with these simple suggestions, you just may "think yourself well."
*[T-cells play a central role in cell-mediated immunity - which is an
immune response that does not involve antibodies or complement but rather
involves the activation of macrophages, natural killer cells (or NK),
in turn NK cells play a major role in the rejection of tumors and cells
infected by viruses - Wikipedia].
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