10/06/2014 12:53 EDT | Updated 12/06/2014 05:59 EST

What I Learned This Week: Is Good News the Cure for a Cold?



I spent much of last week saddled with a nagging cold, one that wouldn't fully break though into need for bed rest, but left me sniffly, blocked up, achy, feverish and functionally miserable for six straight days.

Being the quasi-hypochondriac that I am, I attack every cold the same way -- with tons of expensive pills, lozenges and sprays, each focused on a different symptom, but collectively rather ineffective at making me feel better.

So grin and bear it I did (more like "frown and bear it," but I digress...), slogging through the workweek in misery until Thursday afternoon, when something kind of miraculous happened.

As miracles go, it was a simple one, and arrived on my iPad. In the space of 45 minutes I got two emails filled with good news. One was about some very positive move-ahead on a new business venture I am investing in; the other was the unveiling of the inaugural visual treatment for a theatrical show I am working on.

So guess what happened?

For the next six hours or so, my nose cleared up. My headache faded. No sneezes or coughs. My joints moved smoothly. The off-and-on feverish sweats I was dealing with stabilized into a comfortable average. And I smiled.

Now I'm no doctor, but perhaps with those splendid emails, I stumbled upon not just this week's very concise lesson, but perhaps onto the solution to a problem that's been puzzling and plaguing mankind for centuries. To put it simply:

Good news is the cure for the common cold

Granted, the "cure" was short-lived; just after dinner I started feeling crumby again. But for six glorious hours, I was symptom-free. Don't exactly know why; perhaps it's the flow of endorphins, and their transformation into ache-erasing euphoria. But it sho'nuff did work!

As silly as this might sound, there is some scientific backup for my finding. Way back in 1983, writer and professor Norman Cousins wrote the best-selling "Anatomy of An Illness," which described how he used humour and positivity to battle what was supposed to be a terminal ailment. His finding has since spawned a whole industry of "laughter is the best medicine" books, seminars and consultants, and the basic concept is now endorsed by organizations as credible as the Mayo Clinic.

But my diagnosis was only a cold, and I didn't laugh.

I just smiled...a whole lot.

So again, my medical credentials are miniscule, but I think there's something going on here. So much so that the next time I feel that chill coming on, I'm gonna be looking for good news. Lots of it. Any kind, and anywhere I can find it.

It may not be proven as a cure, but it sure can't hurt...and it's certainly a whole lot cheaper than Extra-Strength Tylenol Flu, Otrivin and Chloraseptic Sore-Throat Spray.


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