We normally go to psychotherapists for help with psychological issues and go to physicians for help with medical issues. However, new research in psychoneuroimmunology and neuropsychology reveals direct connections between health and happiness. In my 3-years of training at the Simonton Cancer Center, it became very clear to me that behind all the tools that we taught to the cancer patients was one underlying philosophy: Dr. Simonton was very clear that a healthy mind-state was the best predictor of who would fully recover from advanced metastatic disease. There are many ways to develop healthy states of mind, such as increasing social support, finding meaning and purpose, and many practices that will be addressed in future blog posts. However, there is one form of help available that is specifically designed to create greater happiness in life by helping us develop healthier states of mind. The latest research is demonstrating that the new mindfulness-based forms of psychotherapy, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
are proving to be particularly effective at helping people live happier lives, and increased happiness translates into improved overall physiological functioning—especially improved immune function.