You guys have probably heard or can at least relate to the fact that if you see or hear happy people, it makes you feel happy too. Think about it. If you went out to dinner with your super depressed friend who complained the entire time about how unfair and miserable life is, how would you feel afterward? Kind of bummed, no?
Now, what if you went out with a friend who was feeling amazing and talked about how inspiring and joyful life is? You’d laugh, you’d feel their positivity, and you’d probably leave pretty happy too, right? Of course you would.
Well, guess what? A recent study shows that even smelling happy people can make you happier. Yes, I said smelling.
So here’s the deal. There’s these things called chemosignals, which are essentially messages sent along with smells. The researchers were aiming to determine whether sweat (and chemosignals) taken from people in a happy state could influence others.
First, they had 12 men provide sweat samples. They evened the playing field by making sure the men didn’t take medicines, smoke, drink, have sex, eat smelly food, or exercise excessively. The men washed their pits, attached absorbent pads in there, and went to work watching a scary, happy, or neutral video clip. Then, they collected the pads, labeled them, and recruited a bunch of women to smell them. (Women have a better sense of smell and greater sensitivity to emotional signals then men. Go us. But still who would volunteer for such a thing, am I right?)
Participating women weren’t allowed to have any psychiatric disorders or other illnesses. Their job was to sniff the sweat samples while researchers noted their response. Women who smelled the “fear sweat” had activity in their medial frontalis muscle, a common feature of fear expression. Those who were exposed of happy sweat, showed facial activity indicative of a smile. Women exposed to happy sweat even processed information like a happy person.
You pickin’ up what I’m laying down? Smelling a happy person’s sweat made these women happier!
So go forth, be happy. You’ll actually help others in your vicinity be happier too, just by the way you smell!
PS: Here's the 2015 World's Happiest Countries List. Guess who made the top 5? (Hint: Not Americans)
PPS: This study shows us that, contrary to popular belief, more sex doesn't mean more happiness.
PPPS: Do you know your positivity ratio? Take this 2 minute, online self-test to find out!