People who went through a programme to improve their psychological outlook reported fewer sick days afterwards, proving the adage that a healthy mind really does lead to a healthy body.
Researchers at the University of Virginia recruited 155 healthy adults either into a psychological wellbeing course or put them on a wait list. The 12-week course taught personal values, strengths and goals, emotional control and mindfulness.
Three months after the course ended, those who had participated reported fewer sick days than those who had stayed on the wait list. They also said they felt better, mentally and physically.
The results reinforce earlier studies that had discovered that happier people also have better cardiovascular health and strong immune systems.
The new study shows that it can improve the health of even those who are generally happy already, the researchers said.
(Source: Psychological Science, 2020; 31: 807; doi: 10.1177/0956797620919673)