Optimists have fewer colds

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Optimists have fewer colds

Study Reveals Who thinks positively, strengthens the immune system

If you look at life through rose-colored glasses, not only has more fun in life, but is also better equipped to fight colds. This has now found a study of students. Participants with an optimistic attitude were less sick than their more pessimistic peers in the exam stress.

Optimists have fewer colds

Optimists are better prepared agains colds

© TK

Can the personality of a person have an influence on the immune system? Go optimistic people not only with a more positive outlook on life through life, but also healthier? Psychologists at the Roehampton University in London, the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf and the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) have demonstrated in a recently published study that optimistic students under exam stress are less susceptible to infections of the upper respiratory system than their less positive thinking students.

Students in exam stress as test objects

"Many studies have shown that stress load on the immune system and stressed people are more vulnerable to disease. We wanted to know if it is possible, in turn, reduce the risk of infection by a positive attitude, "explains Heiko Schulz, a psychologist at the TK, the research project. At the beginning of the study, the participating 43 women and 37 men were interviewed with regard to their attitude to divide the average of 23-year-old students in optimists and pessimists.

"We have the participants according to their agreement with statements such as" If anything can go wrong, then it is also wrong, "or" Whatever come, I get the out already "asked and divided according to their answers," explains Schulz's approach of researchers.
As a result, the researchers examined the infection status of 80 students once during and once outside their testing phase. For this, the subjects were interviewed in two phases after the onset of cold symptoms such as nasal congestion nine, cough or sore throat.

Optimists have fewer colds

The results confirm the input thesis: The optimistic Students felt their test phase not only as less stressful and mentally stressful, they also showed less cold symptoms. "The optimists consider the stress phase rather than challenge that they approach involved what they rather inspired and so better protects against stress-related health problems. In turn pessimists feel the testing phase as hard to cope with, they invest more energy in order to handle the stress and are therefore much more susceptible to infectious diseases, "said Professor Claus Vögele from Roehampton University.

Although the study only on the individual stressor "exam" focused and therefore has limited abilities to make general statements on the influence of personality traits on the immune system, it shows a trend: health can be positively influenced by an optimistic outlook on life. With a further larger-scale study in several nursing homes, the TK-experts Gerhard Schulz Mahltig and confirmed the results. Again, it was found that the optimists better deal among the employees of the nursing staff with stress and an average of two days were less-sick leave than their pessimistic counterparts.

Optimistic attitude can be trained

"These results are useful when it comes to the design of offers for health promotion. Providers such as health insurance companies can use this information to develop prevention programs that aim to promote the attitude and handling of the participants with problems, "said Schulz." Of course, no one can decide from one day to the next, from now on optimism but to go through life. It is possible to train a more positive outlook and strategies for coping with stress and ultimately change the mindset. "

(Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), 16.02.2010 - NPO)


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Optimism disease cold stress immune stress prevention health medicine mentality mood infectious attitude

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