Kick Immunity into High Gear with a Kicky Song

Medically reviewed in February 2021

Ever catch yourself humming that old Broadway tune "Everything's Coming Up Roses"? Maybe you should give it a try sometime. Your immune system may thank you.

A study shows that while too much stress can torpedo immunity, a fit of optimism may actually buoy it up.

Feelin' groovy
In the study, researchers measured students' optimism with short tests. Then, over time, the students were pricked several times in the arm with a harmless virus or yeast—and their skin reactions (a sign of immune-system strength) were checked. A bigger bump on the skin meant a bigger immune response. Surprisingly, the students whose optimism grew over the study period also saw their immune responses grow stronger with each prick. On the other hand, immunity dropped somewhat in students whose feelings were growing more pessimistic during the study period. And the students with an even keel throughout? Virtually no change in immune reaction.

Need help feeling positive? Try repeating a hopeful mantra.

Oh happy day
Yep, optimal immunity may require us to do more than just beat back stress. We may need to take a downright happy view of ourselves and the world if we want to help our bodies fend off illness and disease. Researchers aren't sure exactly how good feelings strengthen immune system response, but they suspect it could simply be that positivity makes taking care of yourself—and controlling immune-dampening stress—easier.

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