Happy people are healthier people, research suggests.
People who are happy, lively, calm or exhibit other positive emotions are less likely to catch colds and report fewer symptoms of the illness when they are under the weather.
Researchers interviewed 193 volunteers, aged 21 to 55, over several weeks to assess their moods and overall emotional states, and then infected them with either a rhinovirus, known to cause the common cold, or an influenza virus, responsible for the basic flu. The volunteers were then quarantined to see if they came down with a cold or the flu.
While the study found happiness is associated with boosted health, it suggests the opposite might not be true. People who reported more negative emotions, such as depression, anxiety and anger, were not any more likely to catch colds than normal controls, the study found.
The study, led by psychologist Stephen Cohen of Carnegie Mellon University, will be detailed online in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.
- Happiness Buys Success
- Study Verifies Power of Positive Thinking
- No Cure for Common Cold, but a Wiggle in the Right Direction
- The Keys to Happiness, and Why We Don't Use Them
- Optimists Live Longer
Live Science newsletter
Stay up to date on the latest science news by signing up for our Essentials newsletter.