Optimism Strengthens Your Immune System

In a study of about 125 first-year law students, researchers examined the relationship between personal optimism and cell-mediated immunity (CMI), which plays a central role in protecting you against viral infections.

At five points over the course of the school year, participants answered a series of questions and had their CMI measured through a simple skin test. To gauge their optimism level, they were asked to what degree they agreed with a series of statements, including “I will be less successful than most of my classmates” and “It’s unlikely that I will fail.”

The end-of-year results were decisive. Changes in CMI across time correlated with changes in optimism. When optimism increased, so did CMI. When optimism decreased, so did CMI.

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