Faking Your Way To Happiness
Seeking happiness? All you may have to do is smile. Even a contrived smile will work, according to researchers at the University of South Australia. Lead investigator Fernando Marolejo-Ramos explains that “when your muscles say you’re happy, you’re more likely to see the world around you in a positive way.” He wrote that the muscle movements leading to a smile stimulate the amygdala – the part of our brain that allows us to feel emotions – by releasing neurotransmitters “to encourage an emotionally positive state.” He added that “if we can trick the brain into perceiving stimuli as ‘happy,’ then we can potentially use this mechanism to help boost mental health.” Other research has shown that smiling can increase levels of both dopamine, a hormone that enhances feelings of happiness, as well as serotonin, which is linked to reduced levels of stress.
Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos et al, “Your face and moves seem happier when I smile: Facial action influences the perception of emotional faces and biological motion stimuli.” Experimental Psychology, doi.org/10.1027/1618-3169/a000470
More current health news from this week’s bulletin:
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- A Refreshing Lunch Idea: Chilled Tomato Soup
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