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Could Sunglasses Affect Our Mood?

Not only will sunglasses protect your eyes from the sun's damaging rays, they may stop you frowning, making your world much more calm. Don't dull your happiness with a frown. Some days you need to create your own sunshine.
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It is almost impossible to smile on the outside without feeling better on the inside. -- Unknown.

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Close your eyes, picture your favorite place, or face, or remember the last time you laughed really hard, and smile. Smile as big as you can. How does that feel? Better, I suspect. And it's not just the memory making you feel good. Recalling the memory without smiling won't have quite the same effect. There's more to it than recollection and mindset.

Feeling joy and happiness makes us smile, and smiling alone, whether you feel it or fake it, also makes us happier. While our brains are the control center of our bodies, they don't always get it right and can be manipulated by biofeedback. With so much stimuli and mixed messages, sometimes the brain takes the simplest clue for how to feel and respond.

Smiling, whether real or manufactured, can fool the brain into thinking we are happier than we really are. Have you heard "fake it 'till you make it"? Smiling fires the good neurotransmitters in your brain, specifically dopamine, serotonin and endorphins, which are nature's happy drugs, reducing stress, lowering heart rate and blood pressure and even reducing pain.

However, the big question is, could the reverse also be true? Could you trick your brain into anger by frowning? It turns out that you can. A group of researchers conducted a study on involuntary sun-induced frowning and the effect it had on the emotional state of the subject. They found that "participants walking against the sun without sunglasses scored higher in a self-report measure of anger and aggression compared to those walking with the sun behind and/or wearing sunglasses."

Just as smiling brightens your mood, so frowning can make you agitated or unhappy. Squinting can signify deception or uncertainty, and animals squint to determine the distance between them and their prey. None of these things make us feel happier. If you look directly at the sun or a bright light, you naturally squint, which is similar if not the same as frowning. And your tired and over stimulated brain thinks that the squint is a sign of unhappiness or aggression or confusion and guess what? Your mood drops.

So how do we stop ourselves from squinting during a long, sunny summer or on glaring winter days? Anything you can wear that will reduce your need to squint and frown will also reduce the feelings of anger and aggression your brain is sensing. One solution is to wear a pair of sunglasses.

Not only will sunglasses protect your eyes from the sun's damaging rays, they may stop you frowning, making your world much more calm.

Don't dull your happiness with a frown. Some days you need to create your own sunshine.

Want to feel happier? Don't forget your sunglasses.

{Image credit: Stocksy.com}