Immune Resilience #17: Negativity Bias & Immune Crash.  Negative emotions bring down our immune system. Body, mind, spirit are inextricably linked… our body’s physiology reacts to our thoughts in exactly the same way as it does to real events. The problem is that our physiology is hard-wired for ‘negativity-bias’ and negative thoughts prime our nervous system for a stress response or for a relaxation response. Chronic negative thinking provokes a chronic cortisol stress response – bad news for every system in our body… particularly for our immune system.

I found some excellent resources at the University of Minnesota’s ‘Take Charge of Your Health and Wellbeing’s website – to share with you here:

Negativity bias

Evolution (thanks to our primal amygdala) has hard-wired us to scan our environment and defend against threats in day to day life, so our default is to prioritize bad over good. Scientist Barbara Fredrickson says:

While this is a tidy survival mechanism for someone who needs to stay hyper-vigilant in a dangerous environment, the truth is that for most of us, this “negativity bias” is counter-productive. Our negativity bias means that we spend too much time ruminating over the minor frustrations we experience—bad traffic or a disagreement with a loved one— and ignore the many chances we have to experience wonder, awe, and gratitude throughout the day.

To ‘off-set’ this bias Fredrickson teaches that we need to experience (intentionally) three positive emotions for every negative one. The practices of forgiveness and gratitude have sound underpinning research showing their positive emotional and health benefits.

  • The practice of forgiveness has not only been linked to better immune function and longevity but has been shown to lower our blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health. Click the link to learn ways of expressing your emotion and taking a self positivity test.
  • We know that the practice of gratitude not only powerfully builds emotional resilience, but research shows that the experience of gratitude can induce a sense of relaxation, improve our immune function and lower blood pressure. Click the link to learn 10 ways to fit gratitude into your life every day.

Brene Brown shares us how actively practising gratitude has brought joy into her life and her family’s life:

Negativity bias and immune crash – the power of positivity

Cultivating positivity can help us recover from the impact of negative emotions and become more resilient in the face of crisis or stress, anxiety or fear. Resilience is like an invisible rubber band stretched or pulled by negative circumstances, but strong and flexible enough to enable us to ‘bounce back’ to a state of balance or homeostasis. For me, true resilience is a holistic state of physical and emotional homeostasis – in other words, of holistic health.

Resilient health is holistic health…

Our health is in our hands … WE make the decision to create the lifestyle changes that bring energy, vitality and resilient health… so let’s take the first step, however small, and walk purposefully and consistently towards those goals.

This post is part of the Immune Resilience Series – with this series, I’m making a commitment to my subscribers to provide helpful, evidence-based information and insights into what we can do with nutrition and lifestyle medicine to build immune resilience – the capacity of our immune system to respond to external challenges (such as the Covid-19 pandemic) and return to a healthy state of wellbeing.



Our risk for contracting communicable diseases like the Covid-19 virus increases when our immune system is weak and a weakened immune system is largely the result of a less-than-optimal diet and an unsupportive lifestyle.

Even as we are experiencing this current crisis, we are also seeing underlying epidemics of chronic diseases of every kind – diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, degenerative, digestive and autoimmune disorders across the globe. These conditions too, are largely diet and lifestyle-driven and they are preventable.

We need to act now

We have robust science to show us that what we eat has never been more important for our health and, because all life is inextricably connected, for our planet. The Real Food Solution will help you to discover the power of real food as medicine for better health… for you and for our planet.

Crises like Covid-19 are a test our humanity… let’s stop queuing up for loo rolls and start creating a strong, resilient foundation of immune health… together.

Stay safe, stay informed and get empowered, Izabella.

Order your copy today!

The Real Food Solution front cover


Izabella Natrins

I'm here to inspire and support women at midlife and beyond to re-ignite purpose and meaning to take back control of their health and create the radical, resilient heath they want and deserve. As a whole-health expert with over 30 years experience in the field, a qualified Health and Wellness Coach and Ballymaloe-trained nutritional chef, my real food nutrition and lifestyle medicine programmes support women fighting fatigue, struggling with overwhelm, weight gain, sleep, energy and niggling or multiple diagnosed health issues. As an advocate for real food nutrition, regenerative agriculture and whole-health, my book 'The Real Food Solution' is an evidence-based treasury wisdom for energy, vitality and better health for people and planet and a call to action to change the way we grown, source and cook our food. As the CEO at The UK Health Coaches Association, I'm proud to continue the task of leading the first professional association for Health and Wellness Coaches in the world and the gold standard for the UK and Ireland.

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