Immune responses are strengthened by diet, exercise and sleep. Underlying conditions such as pneumonia, cancer and diabetes can weaken them. They are deactivated by emotional problems such as stress, anxiety, anger and depression. Poor lifestyle, ill health and emotional difficulties reduce longevity, prevent happiness and cause premature death. Without the will to live, death is how people obtain peace.
It is a harsh call on anyone, a cynical and pessimistic outlook, to observe that many people succumb to various illnesses and death as withdrawal, when their life has become intolerable. Seligman in ‘Learned Optimism’ measured how absence of choice and control increased longevity of residents in retirement accommodation. The mechanism theorised was deactivation of their immune systems by psychological learned helplessness.
Immunity from good physical and emotional health, together with psychological control, could be critical for resisting an infection like COVID-19, without risking becoming a victim or waiting for a vaccine.