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A Merry Heart
Photo: Vinícius Sgarbe
Avoiding negative emotions may enhance your body’s ability to fight infection, suggests a study reported in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.

Researchers asked 52 middle-aged people to recall and write about either the “best” or the “worst” time of their life. In the minutes following the exercise, participants’ brain electrical activity and startle response to a loud burst of noise was monitored to gauge negative mood.

Participants then received a flu vaccination and had their flu-virus antibody levels measured intermittently for up to 26 weeks.

The results? Those who’d written about the worst time in their life and those who demonstrated the strongest startle responses had the lowest levels of flu-virus antibodies. Immune systems saddled with unpleasant emotions may mount a weaker response than those belonging to more positive individuals. Don’t worry. Be happy!


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Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Life, September/October 2004. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines

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