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Positive attitude can combat colds

Heading a mother’s advice to drink lots of fluids, get enough rest and eat sensibly isn’t the only way to stay fit. As it turns out, a positive attitude can also contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

Psychosomatic Medicine, the official journal of The American Psychosomatic Society, released a study that determined the more cheery and relaxed a person is, the less likely to complain about symptoms, even when they do not have a cold.

“Increases in positive emotional styles were linked with decreases in the rate of clinical colds, but a negative emotional style had no effect on whether or not people got sick,” according to lead researcher Sheldon Cohen, Ph.D.

The study monitored 334 participants over the course of two weeks and tested their tendencies to experience positive (happy, pleased and relaxed) emotions and negative (anxious, hostile and depressed) emotions. The volunteers were then given nasal drops containing one of the two rhinoviruses, a common cold agent, and monitored for five days.

“What we found is that the positive emotional style is related to whether or not people get colds,” Cohen reported. “The higher their level of positive emotions, the less likely they develop a cold.”

Cohen explained that people with positive attitudes showed fewer symptoms of illness probably because healthy attitudes tend to promote a healthy lifestyle. Those with negative attitudes may assume the worst of an indistinct sensation, such as a sore throat, while those with positive attitudes believe it’s nothing serious.

So, when sensing typical cold symptoms — such as burning feeling in the nose or throat, sneezing, runny nose or fatigue — follow the traditional formula for fitness, accented with a little optimism. A positive attitude can help ward off a looming virus and possibly protect against future sickness.

Date: Wednesday, February 08, 2012

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