Can a positive outlook affect your biochemical immune response? Scientists at the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville think so. They conducted an experiment with law students. The 124 students were studied over six months. They were injected with a material that summons an immune response on the skin - the specific immune response responsible for fighting viral and bacterial infections.
As students' positive and negative expectations soared and dipped, their immune system followed along. At more optimistic times, they'd have a bigger immune response; at a more pessimistic time, a more sluggish immune response. They immune response didn't work on the students' general outlook on life, but rather on a specific facet of their life/day.
So being optimistic in a specific domain of your life may promote better immunity against infections. There is a biochemical basis as scientists at the University of California-Berkeley found that stress increases the hormone cortisol and cortisol directly suppresses the immune system.
Life circumstances, the media, family tassles - there are so many things that can stall us from optimism. But optimism in any circumstance can be learned. Find ways to look at countering negative thoughts with gratefulness, forgivefulness, grace, prayer and service to others. It will not only win over hearts and minds, it may just keep you healthier.