We all know that maintaining a sunny disposition is good for the body. It relieves stress, fights off fatigue, and based on a new study published in ScienceDaily.com, it can even improve mental capacity (particularly decision-making and memory) in older adults.

Researchers based their conclusion on a trial involving 46 adults aged 63 to 85. Half of them got mood boosters in the form of a thank-you cards and bags of candy, while the other half received none. The latter was considered as the “neutral mood group.” To further reinforce the good mood and neutral moods of participants, the good mood group had test computers with wallpapers full of smiling suns, while the neutral mood group only had yellow circles with no faces.

Their first task involved a simple game that they had to learn via trial and error. The mechanics were simple: eight virtual decks of cards were presented before them, and they were to base their decisions on the patterns on the back of each card, which marked them as part of a “gain deck” or a “loss deck.” If they chose a card from the four “gain decks,” they won a quarter 75 percent of the time. If they chose from the “loss” deck, they lost 25 cents. From their starting money of three dollars, the goal was to earn as much as possible.

The second task involved being shown a series of letters and numbers, which they had to recite in numeric and alphabetic order.

The results revealed that the good mood group scored higher in both tests than the neutral mood group.

Of course there’s no need to wait for late adulthood to be happy or to make people happy. Be all smiles by doing activities that relieve stress like meditating, exercising, or going to a spa. More importantly, share the good vibes by being kind to others whether at home or in the office. Being in a good mood not only nourishes your spirit, but also keeps your mind healthy.

(Photo by Kristin via Flickr Creative Commons)

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