Smiles, Hugs, and Laughter: A Brand New Kind of Happiness

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 And if you like what you see you can follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!

Hope to see you all there!

Jessica Lauren

Founder of The Happiness Movement

Join or login to comment.

  • Orchid


    1 · October 27, 2013

  • Jessica L.

    Thank you Happyologists for making this meet-up truly remarkable! We went over a lot of information, considered new points about smiling, hugging, and laughter, and everyone's input was brilliant. I could not have asked for a better group of happy people! Everyone that could not make it this time, we hope to see you next time for more happiness, activities, and fun! Lots of hugs and smiles to everyone!

    October 24, 2013

  • Leif P.

    Very interesting and informative and the points made flowed together nicely. Jessica covered a lot of ground,gave interesting and relevant examples, and the audience members in attendance were attentive and added to the depth and perspective of the discussion. Looking forward to what the next topic will cover.

    1 · October 24, 2013

  • Dale F.

    great seminar!. arranging the chairs in a semi-circle improves eye-contact

    1 · October 23, 2013

  • Lianna

    I had hoped to join you all for the first time this evening but am a little under the weather today; looking forward to future events though!

    1 · October 23, 2013

  • Pamela

    I would love to attend but will be out of town, hopefully next time!

    1 · October 22, 2013

    • Jessica L.

      Hope to see you next time:-)!

      October 23, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Traveling, out of town.

    October 23, 2013

  • Jessica L.

    Hello Happyologists, just finished printing out the materials for Smiles, Hugs, and Laughter: A Brand New Kind of Happiness and they look awesome! I am so excited for this talk, it will be fun and interactive. And being around happy and positive people is always a huge plus :-). Thank you and see you all very soon! Jessica

    October 23, 2013

  • Shannon B.

    Looking forward to it and hope my bf, John can join too.

    October 14, 2013

  • Jessica L.

    I hope everyone can make it to this exciting meet-up! :)
    First it is at our new beautiful location at the Tustin Library and second talking about smiling, laughing, and hugging as it relates to our well being is going to be a blast! I am so glad to be involved in this talk and hope to see everyone there! Keep smiling!

    September 11, 2013

  • Renee

    I am going to be out of town through
    september 17. I might just come in if
    I can make it to the meeting.
    Very interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing.

    1 · September 10, 2013

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