Most of us have needed a mood booster at least once this month, maybe even this week or today. There are over 111,000 Google search results for ‘how to boost your mood’ and almost 180,000 results for ‘how can I instantly improve my mood’. It’s no surprise considering the findings in analytics firm Gallup’s Global State of Emotions report. More of us are feeling sadder, angrier and more fearful, according to the report.
If that wasn’t bleak enough, the report also found that the world was just as miserable last year as it was in 2017, which was the saddest year on record (data collecting started 2006). Unless the World Happiness Report, which focuses on life expectancy and GDP, Gallup asks people questions such as ‘did you laugh or smile a lot yesterday’.
A quick glance at the global news headlines might explain why our collective emotional state is such at an all time low (since 2006 at least), but it also reveals the sheer size and complexity of issues currently affecting the world. On a personal level though, how can we take charge of our emotions and improve our mood?
Well, there are the obvious changes, such as eating healthier, sleeping better and making time to enjoy the things you love. There’s also an abundance of medication and for those who prefer natural remedies, plenty of supplements. While we wouldn’t recommend this as your first step, I can safely say that Neubria’s Shine for Mood are quite something. Likewise, Wild Nutrition’s KSM-66 Ashwagandha Plus supplements, which I mention time and time again, really do take the edge off stressful situations.
Instead, as a starting point we suggest taking note of a report released by the University of Tennessee at Knoxville last month if you’re looking for a mood booster. After combing through 50 years worth of research and 138 studies, which tested over 11,000 people, a group of psychologists concluded that smiling really does make us happier. That’s right, that tiny facial expression can truly boost your mood.
Some of you might be quick to say you already knew this, but it’s a topic that scientists have disagreed about for years. “Some studies have not found evidence that facial expressions can influence emotional feelings,” Nicholas Coles, UT PhD student in social psychology and lead researcher on the paper told Science Daily. “But we can’t focus on the results of any one study. Psychologists have been testing this idea since the early 1970s, so we wanted to look at all the evidence.”
While we can’t smile our way, or the world, into happiness, it’s a small gesture that could definitely help improve your morning and that’s a start. Plus, as Cole says, “These findings are exciting because they provide a clue about how the mind and the body interact to shape our conscious experience of emotion. We still have a lot to learn about these facial feedback effects, but this meta-analysis put us a little closer to understanding how emotions work.”