From Dr. Mercola:
Can your mind heal your body? It may sound far-fetched that the power of your thoughts and emotions could exert physical, biological changes, but there are countless examples, both scientific and anecdotal, showing this possibility is very real.
Science journalist Jo Marchant shared numerous such examples, from Iraq war veterans and many others, in her book “Cure.” She told Scientific American:1
“There are now several lines of research suggesting that our mental perception of the world constantly informs and guides our immune system in a way that makes us better able to respond to future threats.
That was a sort of ‘aha’ moment for me — where the idea of an entwined mind and body suddenly made more scientific sense than an ephemeral consciousness that’s somehow separated from our physical selves.”
Your State of Mind Influences the State of Your Immune System
Your mind wields incredible power over the health of your immune system, for good or for bad. Stress, for instance, has a major negative influence on the function of your immune system, which is why you’ve probably noticed you’re more likely to catch a cold when you’re under a lot of stress.
And, in the event you do get sick, emotional stressors can actually make your cold and flu symptoms worse. As lead author Sheldon Cohen, Ph.D. a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, noted:3
“Inflammation is partly regulated by the hormone cortisol and when cortisol is not allowed to serve this function, inflammation can get out of control
The immune system’s ability to regulate inflammation predicts who will develop a cold, but more importantly it provides an explanation of how stress can promote disease.
When under stress, cells of the immune system are unable to respond to hormonal control, and consequently, produce levels of inflammation that promote disease.
Because inflammation plays a role in many diseases such as cardiovascular, asthma and autoimmune disorders, this model suggests why stress impacts them as well.”
The opposite also holds true in that positive thoughts and attitudes are able to prompt changes in your body that strengthen your immune system, boost positive emotions, decrease pain and chronic disease, and provide stress relief.
One study found, for instance, that happiness, optimism, life satisfaction, and other positive psychological attributes are associated with a lower risk of heart disease.4
It’s even been scientifically shown that happiness can alter your genes! A team of researchers at UCLA showed that people with a deep sense of happiness and well-being had lower levels of inflammatory gene expression and stronger antiviral and antibody responses.5
The Placebo Effect Once Again Proves ‘Mind Over Matter’
By definition, a placebo is an inert, innocuous substance that has no effect on your body. However, the placebo effect, in which a patient believes