By Donna Gates, as seen on:

During the holidays what do we always do, year after year? We string lights around a tree or along the trim of our house. We light candles. We give gifts. We sing joyful songs that tell stories and warm the spirit. We share food with family members and people in our community.

Of all the times of the year, the holiday season is a special time that energizes many of us to give, share and feel gratitude. While we may not realize it, lighting candles serves as a reminder during the winter solstice of the sun’s eventual return. Other traditions, such as giving gifts and sharing food, celebrate wealth because long ago winter was seen as a time of famine.

Wouldn’t be wonderful if we could extend holiday cheer into every day of the year?

As it turns out, the latest research tells us that the feelings of joy and gratitude do more than strengthen a family or personal happiness. These feelings, which are celebrated most during the holidays, actually strengthen the physical body itself.

As amazing as sounds, we now have evidence that proves a positive link between poor immune system function and the feelings of loneliness, dissatisfaction, stress and conflict.

A well-regulated immune system means that the body can respond appropriately to infection. It also means that certain conditions, like allergies or autoimmunity, will not be able to affect the body. What we are now learning is that certain emotions can be just as toxic to the physical body as certain foods.

Our ability to be healthy and to thrive is not only about the foods that we eat.

Of course, the body does best when we eat clean foods that are free of chemicals, preservatives, fillers and overly processed oils. However, a perfect diet, without smile or laughter, does not equal perfect health.

In fact, perfect health is about a balance. This balance happens between our environment, our emotions and our food choices. So far, science has found that this balancing act between environment, emotions and diet most clearly affects the endocrine and immune systems. What else have researchers discovered? That joy boosts the health of the immune system!

Therapeutic ways to boost immune system function over the holidays:

  • Smile
  • Laugh
  • Give and receive affectionate touch
  • Engage in playtime with your children
  • Honor relationships with your family and community

The reality is that each and every cell in our body benefits from our choice to celebrate life.

When we truly celebrate life, we make choices that are uplifting and beneficial in the long-term. This means that we eat, think and live in a way that empowers our senses and strengthens every system in the body.

This holiday season, hug someone you love, smile at a stranger, and celebrate the light and health of every cell in your body!

Want more articles like this?

Sign up to receive weekly articles. You'll also receive a 15% off coupon, weekly articles, and tips from Donna and her team.

I'm most interested in: