July 24, 2012

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You're likely no stranger to the mood-boosting effects of dark chocolate or a girls' night out, but these new uplifting strategies might surprise you.

Put on your favorite dress
Ditching that pair of schlumpy jeans for your choicest threads might actually turn your day around, says Karen J. Pine, PhD, professor of developmental psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in England. In Pine's recent study, many women could actually alter their mood with a wardrobe change. "If we wear smart, positive, and attractive clothes, we'll behave accordingly, and that's bound to lift our mood," Pine says. In other words, fake it till you make it!

Watch a sad movie

In a new study, subjects who saw a tragic film reported feelings of happiness and satisfaction with their lives both during and after the screening. It sounds counterintuitive, but a tearjerker can make you appreciate the good things in your life, explains author Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, PhD, associate professor at the Ohio State University's School of Communication. A comedy works, too, by distracting you.

Kiss someone
Smooching leads to a release of the bonding neurotransmitter oxytocin, which has a calming effect, and a reduction in the stress hormone cortisol, says Helen Fisher, PhD, author of Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love. Natural high, indeed.

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