The Happy Road to a Healthy Life Is Not to Be Sniffed At

Article excerpt

Happy thoughts and pleasant smells can help you stay healthy, according to scientists. Conversely, guilty memories and nasty odours, such as rotting meat, can weaken the immune system. The findings from two studies are the first to link changes of mood and immune system responses. Researchers from the Associates for Research into the Science of Enjoyment (Arise) measured how much of the antibody immunoglobulin-A (sIgA) was produced when people had pleasant and unpleasant experiences. The antibody protects against respiratory infections and is found in saliva. In the first study, led by Professor David Warburton, from Reading University, people had their immune system measured while recalling their happiest or most guilty memories. The amount of sIgA they secreted doubled 20 minutes after happy thoughts and grew further after 45 minutes. Even after three hours, the immunity level was 60 per cent higher than when the experiment started. However, immune function was suppressed when people recalled traumatic or guilty experiences. …