Taking in such spine-tingling wonders as the Grand Canyon, Sistine Chapel ceiling or Schubert’s “Ave Maria” may give a boost to the body’s defense system, according to research done at the University of California, Berkeley and published in January 2015 in the journal Emotion. A release from the university explains that the researchers have linked positive emotions – especially the awe we feel when touched by the beauty of nature, art and spirituality – with lower levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are proteins that signal the immune system to work harder. The release quotes lead author Jennifer Stellar as saying, “Our findings demonstrate that positive emotions are associated with the markers of good health.” While cytokines are necessary for herding cells to the body’s battlegrounds to fight infection, disease and trauma, sustained high levels of cytokines are associated with poorer health and such disorders as type-2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and even Alzheimer’s disease and clinical depression.
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Nature, Art & Religion Boost Immune System