Do This Unexpected Thing to Boost the Effectiveness of Your Flu Shot

Each year summer rolls into autumn, and all of sudden the threat of the common cold or worse—the flu—looms over us. Even though we can become infected with these temporary ailments at any point throughout the year, the colder weather increases the risk. After all, throughout the fall and winter, you find yourself indoors and in close quarters with other people more often. Plus, chilly temperatures can lower our defenses. 

The most obvious step toward preventing a week or two of aches, pains, and general misery is to get your flu shot. It protects against the most common strains of flu each season, meaning you greatly increase your chances of good health. According to a new study, though, there's something else you can do to increase those chances even further. You just have to think positively. Keep reading to learn how your emotional and mental state is linked to the efficacy of the flu vaccine. 

Photo: ImaxTree

In the study, 138 adults tracked their sleep, exercise, food consumption, and emotional and mental states for two weeks before a flu shot and continued to do so for a month after. Researchers then kept track of the number of flu antibodies in their blood. They found that those who reported a happier mental and emotional state, or positive outlook on the future, were less likely to develop symptoms of the flu. In fact, the number of flu antibodies were higher in these individuals than the others.

"We found that greater positive mood, whether measured repeatedly over a 6-week period around vaccination, or on the day of vaccination, significantly predicted greater antibody responses to influenza vaccination," the report reads. The explanation to this might lie in a combination of direct and indirect factors. "Indirectly, positive mood is associated with healthier lifestyles and better health status is associated with improved responses to vaccination," the report states. "More directly, biological pathways between sub-cortical regions of the brain responsible for affective processing and the immune system have been described previously, including endocrine-mediated mechanisms and the direct innervation of lymphatic organs extending from the central nervous system." In other words, there is thought to be a direct biological link to your mood and your immune system.

So here's your heads-up. Before getting that flu shot, think positive and make your day an exceptional one. It might save you from getting sick later on. In the meantime, be sure to carry hand sanitizer in your bag (we always have our Dr. Bronner's Lavender Hand Sanitizer Spray $6 on hand).

Next, read up on why self-love doesn't mean loving everything about yourself, always.