A walk in nature or simply feeling in awe at the beauty of a waterfall or the sound of music can evoke one’s immune system to work harder to fight illness, a first of its kind study reveals.
A study conducted at UC Berkeley and published in the journal Emotion found that individuals who experienced greater positive emotions and feelings of awe and wonder had the lowest levels of cytokines, cells that gather cells to fight infection, and the lowest levels of inflammatory markers amongst all participants. High levels of cytokines are linked to chronic disease and illness.
The study involved over 200 young adults and asked them to report on a given day the extent that they had felt positive emotions like awe, love and joy and compassion. Researchers took samples of gum and cheek tissue on the same day to measure the levels of cytokines in the participants and found the lowest levels among those reporting greater positive feelings.