Make Yourself Feel Happy when You are Sad

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The stress and struggles of life events often leave us with varying degrees of sadness. Spending time with supportive friends or loved ones, engaging in physical activity and getting sufficient quantities of sleep are some common recommendations. However, scientific studies on the subject reveal options that many never consider.

Dramatic Movies

Some of the most popular and successful movies created by Hollywood in the last three decades involve storylines featuring characters who suffer extreme adverse circumstances. Some triumphantly overcome their situations. However, others become tragic victims. Each offers plenty of opportunities for shedding more than a few tears. Researchers evaluated the reactions these movies had on a large group of participants. Prior to viewing a film, volunteers answered questions concerning their current emotional state and their life situations. The people were again interviewed during the course of the movie and upon the film's conclusion. Data reveals that the audience expressed feeling happier after watching the drama. Scientists conclude that seeing someone endure more serious events left viewers with the opinion that their lives were not as miserable.

Red Meat

If you feel that you experience more than your share of blue days, your diet may be a contributing factor. Despite all the bad press that red meat receives, Australian researchers found that when women consumed a minimum of two to four ounces of the protein four times every week, they were less likely to suffer symptoms of depression. Red meat contains a wide selection of vital nutrients in addition to omega-3 fatty acids that all contribute to the production and release of feel good brain chemicals.

Mental Preoccupation

When feeling down, it is often tempting to relax, mope around or lay out in the sun while time passes. However, scientists discovered that when someone engages the mind in multiple tasks, the activities stimulate the brain to manufacture and transmit increased levels of dopamine. The neurotransmitter is responsible for a number of functions that include mood regulation. Basic activities might include combining watching TV with reading a book or working a crossword puzzle. Other tactics can involve speaking sentences or phrases in rapid succession. The more actions requiring brain function, the greater the amount of dopamine produced.

Household Chores

For men, this activity might just be what the doctor ordered. A large group of researchers evaluated the emotional and mental effects that performing housework had on tens of thousands of men in dozens or world countries. Whether the tasks alleviated the guilt of watching significant others do the chores or the act made men feel more like a substantial household contributor is unclear. However, men experienced mood elevations upon completing simple tasks. In addition to offering a low-impact cardio workout, mowing the lawn is also emotionally beneficial. During the activity, the brain releases various neurotransmitters that inhibit stress hormone receptors in the body, which has a calming effect.

Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "Make Yourself Feel Happy when You are Sad," in, February 9, 2016, (accessed August 17, 2022).