Creative Child

8 Mind-Blowing Facts About Happiness

by Rebecca Eanes

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6. It may be annoying when you’re in a bad mood and people say, “Oh, smile!” They’re onto something, though. It turns out that smiling, even when you force it, improves your mood and makes you feel happier. Emotions can be regulated by facial expressions, some studies suggest. In one study, participants who mimicked a fearful expression showed an increase in heart rate and skin temperature. In a study done in 1998, participants who matched positive facial expressions had a positive change in mood. Also, watching their expressions in the mirror had an even greater impact, so if you want to feel a bit happier today, go smile at yourself in the mirror.

7. Nostalgic memories improve your mood. Watching a re-run of a favorite show from the past, hearing a song from your youth, or looking at old photographs all have a positive impact on mood and well-being. If you’re feeling lonely, try watching a movie that you loved to watch in college or eating a food that reminds you of when you were a kid. It really will make you feel better.

8. Those big events don’t matter as much as you think. We spend so much time waiting or striving for the big things in life, but it turns out that even happiness from, say, winning the lottery, is temporary. In fact, one study followed a group of people who had won the lottery and a group of people who had become paralyzed due to accidents. Obviously there was a temporary effect on the happiness of both groups, but by one year later, the paraplegics were just as happy as the lottery winners.

So if you think you’ll be happy when you lose 10 pounds or when your child comes home with a straight “A” report card, you will, but only for a little while. It’s best to learn to be happy right where you are, and it seems the best way to do that is to practice gratitude for what you have and to give to others.

Rebecca Eanes is the bestselling author of multiple books including Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, The Positive Parenting Workbook, and The Gift of a Happy Mother. She is the grateful mom of two boys. 


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