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Happiness and Laughter Are Natural Immune Boosters

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There are many studies supporting the belief that people with an upbeat and positive perspective tend to be healthier and enjoy longer lives. For example, in one study, the tendency to always expect the worst was linked to a 25 percent higher risk of dying before the age of 65.

Perhaps one of the most well-known forerunners of "the science of happiness" was Norman Cousins, who in 1964 was diagnosed with a life-threatening autoimmune disease. After being given a one in 500 chance of recovery, Cousins created his own laughter therapy program, which he claims was the key to his ultimate recovery.

Cousins went on to establish the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology in Los Angeles, California, and his book, Anatomy of an Illness, was made into a TV movie in 1984 that you can see in the video above. It's an old grainy movie. However, you can watch it if you are in a tough spot and feel you would benefit from some happy support.

Still, conventional medicine is reluctant to admit that your emotional state might have any major impact on your overall health and longevity. Perhaps this is understandable, as "happiness" is not something that can be bottled and sold at your local pharmacy.

The featured article in Scientific American discusses some of the latest advancements in the field of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), conducted by researchers at the Cousins Center and elsewhere.   
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