How does positive thinking affect immunity?
Candace Pert who is a neuroscientist, through her work, she proved conclusively that our feelings and emotions produce specific neurotransmitters in the brain. These carry and circulate these emotional imprints throughout our entire body. Candace calls these neurotransmitters molecules of emotion. Our immune system is actually sophisticated enough to recognise these molecules of emotion and knows when to react accordingly. For example, when we feel danger or anger, our immune system detects the specific chemical agent as threatening and creates an immune response for our protection. On the other hand, when we feel peaceful and positive emotions the immune system is able to continue its normal functions and promote healing within the body without distractions.
In the world of TICM, emotions and physical health are intimately connected, something known and practiced for thousands of years. Each organ corresponds to a certain emotion. When one feels too much of a certain emotion, or represses that same emotion, the health of the corresponding organ is compromised. It is said that in TICM, when one is happy, one has good energy. Energy is our vital life force that runs through each part of us. With substantial energy, a healthy body is yours.
An example on the emotion is an organ connection is the emotions grief. Grief and sadness correlate to Lung function. Extreme grief or sadness can often create symptoms like shortness of breath and shallow breathing, sweating, fatigue, cough, allergies and asthma. If you have ever felt extreme grief or sadness, any one of those symptoms may have been accompanying. When someone dies in Islam, a set number has been set for grieving and we should not shed too many tears.
If emotions play such a role in TICM, you can see how positive feelings could support the body and its physical health. A happy and positive body equates to proper energy flow and proper energy flow creates better health. Ways to cultivate positivity and positive emotions are through prayer, thinking highly of Allah, gratitude, journalling, meditation, Qigong, breath work, mantras, affirmation, cooking and stress relieving practices that include hijama, acupuncture, herbal medicine....
Now, more and more studies have been taking place outlining effects of a positive attitude and your immunity. One study done at the University of Queensland, published in Psychology and Aging has found that older people who focused on positive information were more likely to have stronger immune systems. As for older people who constantly focus on doom and gloom on the media are prone and more susceptible to illnesses.