If you want to stay healthy, keep an optimistic outlook on life because optimism has a direct effect on the immune system.
The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues and organs that work together to protect the body against infection and maintain overall health. The lymphatic system is a key part of the immune system and consists of a network of vessels spread throughout the body which are responsible for carrying a fluid called lymph. Lymph has a variety of roles, such as the transport of pathogens to the lymph nodes which act as a filter, trapping or destroying anything harmful that the body does not need. There are white blood cells inside the lymph nodes which attack and break down bacteria, viruses, damaged cells or cancer cells. The lymph fluid carries the waste products and destroyed bacteria back into the bloodstream where the liver, kidneys or spleen remove them from the blood. The body then passes them out with other waste.
Our immune systems are also responsible for repairing damage to our bodies. This covers a wide range of responses from fixing a small cut, relieving bruising, healing a broken bone or removing cancer cells. The immune system recognises that tissue has been damaged or that cells are not functioning correctly and triggers a series of processes to repair or remove the damage.
Your skin is the very first line of defence in the immune system. It forms a physical barrier preventing pathogens from getting inside the body. Natural secretions such as sweat and oil also create an environment that inhibits bacterial growth. However, if the skin is broken, then pathogens can get inside the body and trigger an immune response.
Stress can affect the way your immune system works as it can cause increased levels of cortisol, a hormone that is important for overall function of the body. Too much of it can lead to decreased immunity. Some research suggests that, along with a healthy lifestyle, optimism can make your immune system work better because it short circuits stress. Environmental factors can cause stress and this may be amplified by worry and negative thinking. If you hope for a positive outcome and put your thought into achieving that, there will be no room for catastrophising thoughts that increase your stress and suppress your immune system.
So don’t let those negative thoughts rule your life. Replace them with positive ones which will not only make you feel better, they may improve your health and longevity.