We all know the importance of physical immunity, the body’s ability to resist disease and ward off invaders. But what is psychological immunity? It is the ability of the mind to resist disease, ward off emotional toxins, and endure the pendulum swing of gain and loss, joy and sorrow, attraction and repulsion. If your psychological immunity is strong, you also have mental stamina, which is associated with steady concentration and having no memory loss with age.
Medicine has been slow to recognize that non-physical immunity exists. The focus has been on the physical pathogens like bacteria and viruses that abound in the external world. But over a century ago Freud wrote about the “psychopathology of everyday life,” from which everyone needs protecting. Mental pathogens are invisible but potent, beginning with the universal experience of negative emotions like fear, anger, hatred, greed, and jealousy.