Dread colds? Then be a Little Miss Sunshine.
That's the word from researchers who tested the emotional outlook and immune-system capabilities of a group of adults. Cold viruses had a harder time taking hold in the people who had mostly positive things to say.
Apparently, emotions play a role in immunity. Positive thoughts not only help you steer clear of colds but also might make your colds milder if you do get sick. Good reasons to look on the bright side and to get help if you habitually feel negative, anxious, or depressed.
Of course, thinking warm, fuzzy thoughts doesn't replace good ol' cold-killing facts. So follow these sniffle-stopping tips as well:
• Wash your hands frequently, especially if you spend time with someone who is sick. And keep hand towels separate to minimize the spread of germs.
• Avoid spending time with people who are newly sick; they are most infectious during the first few days of illness.
• Eat foods high in vitamin C -- oranges, strawberries, and red bell peppers are good choices. Better yet, get a big boost of vitamin C with a supplement.
• Avoid touching your nose, mouth, or eyes.
• Get plenty of rest.
Of course, you can help other people stay healthy, too, by washing your hands after you blow your nose and covering your mouth with a tissue or the inner crook of your elbow when you sneeze. Because let's face it, what goes around comes around -- sooner or later.
SOURCES: Positive emotional style predicts resistance to illness after experimental exposure to rhinovirus or influenza A virus. Cohen, S., Alper, C. M., Doyle, W. J., Treanor, J. J., Turner, R. B. Psychosomatic Medicine 2006;68(6):809-815.