What Your Thoughts Are Telling Your Immune System and Hormones


As a teenager I read a book by a guy called Al Koran called Bring Out the Magic In Your Mind. The book gave numerous reports of positive thinking affecting people’s health and circumstances. Al Koran insisted that by engaging with full focus on the positives of the present moment we could change our lives by making positive thinking a real habit. I took his ideas to heart.  To enjoy the magic of colour I bought a bright Yellow and Black School Bag that earned me a nickname of Bumble Bee! At the earliest sign of a cough or cold virus I would say to myself calmly that I would be successful  in not succumbing to the cold. As I grew older and more sensitive to our Creator’s role in our lives I might have included Him in my defiance. What’s funny is it always seemed to work.

You may have heard other “positive thinkers,” share a similar story. Is it coincidence? At the time I fancied that my decision not to get sick was the Power Factor. As I grew older I questioned this, could it just be that I was blessed with a Phenomenal Immune system.

Today we are beginning to understand how the Temperament of our Thoughts affects our health Big Time. And not surprisingly the details are complex but the basic concept is simple.

First the Evidence:

1)      Long term depression increases  chances of cancer MORE THAN TAKING UP SMOKING

2)      Women who are socially isolated have a five times greater risk of dying from certain cancers.

3)      Depression reduces your white blood cell (cancer patrol cells) functioning indirectly by increasing your stress hormones.


4)      A Harvard study published in 1998 showed no signs of dementia among 162 centenarians who were generally in better health than aged folks 20 years junior. The key similarities among centenarians in excellent health were :

  • Playing of an instrument
  • A sense of humour
  • an ability to cope with stress WITHOUT much guilt, anger, fear or sadness.
  • Wide and active social circles

As Marie Knowles put it at 100, “I try to make each day, at least a part of it, a joyful day and not a day of finding fault.”

Your thoughts form your attitude or the other way around.  Whichever. You get the point.

It’s well known that folks who are economically challenged have more health problems in Western societies. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that junk food, obesity and lack of exercise, “the obvious” factors are not the MAIN reasons these folks are more sick than the “well off.” The greater frequency of weaker social relationships, negative attitudes, a negative sense of self and a feeling of being controlled by external factors, stresses of racism and classism were the key findings.

There is no “pill for that” though the drug companies will try to invent one.

The irony is that with the right practice and effort and if you surround yourself with the right friends and brain food you can improve your attitude and get rid of ANTS (automatic negative thoughts).

ANTS trigger the stress response the same way eating toxic food (refined carbohydrates and trans fats) and not getting enough sleep does!

The Stress Response means you stimulate your inflammatory pathways, reduce serotonin (your happy hormone), reduce BDNF (the brain’s healing and repair factor), reduce sleep quality, impair your mood and damage your relationships, lower your good cholesterol, raise your bad cholesterol, increase your insulin resistance and tummy fat (and your risk for diabetes and heart disease) and we can go on and on.

We used to say health was about Nutrition, Exercise and Rest.

Now we’re forced to say that self-help gurus were right. Everything gets better when you change your attitude. Because your brain’s response to negative thoughts is along a system that impacts your hormones and immune system directly. We could call it the Psycho-Neuro-Endocrine-Immune system or PNEI.

Funny thing is somewhere deep inside Before all the Research and Terminology you kind of knew it all along.



Note on Al Koran from Wikipedia: b.1914, d.1972

British Mentalist (real name Edward Doe), author and magician.

Bring Out the Magic In Your Mind published 1988