I think we all know that stress can have a major adverse impact on our bodies, but the latest science is looking at the other side – how a positive psychological mindset can benefit our immune system. There is a health and happiness connection and experiencing a sense of well-being can have a fortifying effect on the body. Julienne Bower, Ph.D., and a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at UCLA have found through her research that “sometimes it’s easier to increase people’s happiness than to decrease stress. It really looks as though these positive processes are acting independently from the negative ones. If anything, they may have stronger links with immunity.” Even during the most stressful of times (the enduring pandemic situation we find ourselves living in), practices that boost a sense of connection and purpose in life can help boost a healthier immune system. Start with something simple – an act of KINDNESS. Kindness is the opposite of stress in terms of its physiological effects and can produce opposite effects from those that stress causes. A 2017 study found that people who did acts of kindness over a four week period showed an improved expression of genes linked to immune response function. There is something called the Mother Theresa effect that was named after a Harvard University study where volunteers watching a video of Mother Theresa carrying out acts of kindness and compassion experienced an immune boost. And, in a different experiment, researchers at HeartMath Institute in Boulder, Colorado, asked volunteers to cultivate feelings of care and compassion for just 5 minutes. They also received an immune boost!! Acts of kindness can make the world a better place, can change lives, can be the incentive for others to start affecting their own acts of kindness, and can be contagious, creating more people who show more kindness to others. Start your own kindness ripple effect today – one small act of kindness can completely change the mood, the experience, the thoughts, the day, and even the life of someone. So, boost your immune system and start your kindness campaign today!! RIDE ON!!! STRENGTH ON!!!