We may know how good smiling, laughing, and hugging can feel, but new research is showing how our positive mood has more to do with our brains and connection then with the act of appreciation.
In fact, University of California recently published a study on touch which revealed “holding the hand [and hugging] a loved one can reduce…pain during times of distress” even in the most extreme situations. In the study 25 volunteers were lightly burned while holding their loved one’s hand or being hugged and this lowered their pain by almost 50% when compared to squeezing a stress ball.
The complexity of this new research has propelled deeper questions about the health and positive benefits from the simplest acts of appreciation, like:
1. How can a simple touch bring so much joy?
2. Does connection play a role in how a smile, laugh or hug can make us feel?
3. What are the measurable results of engaging in such activities?
Researchers are just beginning to scratch the surface of these questions, but one thing is clear: we are literally wired to receive the healing benefits from smiles, laughs, and hugs.
The most exciting discovery in neuroscience and Positive Psychology in the last two decades is mirror neurons; neurons in the brain that allow the observer to feel and mimic what they see in the other person. In the article “Happiness In this World” published in Psychology Today states, “Thus, the neuron 'mirrors' the behavior of the other, as though the observer were itself acting” it out.
When researchers combined these findings with smiling, laughing, and hugging, they found that the best boost to happiness is connecting with other happy people…like other Happyologists.
If you’re ready to discover the power of your brain, happiness, and compassion, then join us at our new location September 18 at 7:30PM at the Tustin Library 345 E Main St. Tustin, CA 92780.
For more information about The Happiness Movement go to our blog 123happysteps.com. And if you like what you see you can follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!
Hope to see you all there!
Founder of The Happiness Movement