For decades, scientists have known that chronic unhappiness contributes mightily to all forms of mental and physical illness. Now studies show that happiness itself actually makes people healthier. Happy folks have stronger immune systems, handle stress better, and are far less likely to suffer from anxiety or depression. Believe it or not, they even have fewer accidents. So if you just can’t seem to shake a gloomy mood, here’s how to turn that frown upside down and hit the road to happiness.
Don’t worry, be happy! Even when you’re feeling down in the dumps, it pays to fake it till you make it. As show biz pros have known since William Shakespeare was a fledgling playwright—and behavioral scientist have long since confirmed—if you go around acting as if you’re cheerful, positive, and joyful, before long you will be. So smile, smile, smile!
Shake on it. Believe it or not, a simple, firm handshake can deliver a joyful jolt to your subconscious mind. That’s because any friendly human touch activates the reward center in your central nervous system, automatically giving you a cheery lift.
Hooray for hugs! The simple act of hugging, or being hugged by, someone close to you (or even hugging a beloved pet) triggers your pituitary gland to release a hormone called oxytocin, a.k.a. the “cuddle chemical,” which automatically elevates your mood.