But the happiness these pictures give you is no accident, reports Maia Szalavitz in an article on Time.com. She shares that we react to puppies, kittens, and the like because their big eyes, small bodies, high-pitched sounds, and seeming vulnerability--in short, their cuteness--are traits shared by babies.
Szalavitz writes, "Although adults tend to trivialize cuteness as silly and trite, the ability to appreciate it is actually a critical adaptation, honed over the eons to ensure that we take care of our young. Cuteness lifts our mood and is inherently pleasurable, which tends to mitigate the many, many aspects of parenting that are not fun at all."
She also cites a study linking women's reproductive hormones to their sensitivity to cuteness; the authors of this study tested premenopausal women and women taking the Pill (and therefore with artificially elevated hormone levels) as well as postmenopausal women, and it turned out that the former were "more sensitive to variations of cuteness" than the latter.
We like how Szalavitz put it: "Witnessing cuteness is basically instant Prozac."
So if you're feeling a little down in the dumps, why not give yourself a cute attack? And if you've a friend who's stressed or depressed, share the wealth and give her an "aww" moment with just a click of your mouse button.
We've listed some sites that have a lot of cuteness to offer in the gallery below. Check these out for some instant good vibes.
Looking for more articles on fun and happiness? Check out the following:
- Online Pick-Me-Ups: 20 Websites to Make You Smile
- Research Shows Happiness and Sadness Are Infectious + 10 Small Ways to Spread Joy
- Happiness Is Healthy: The Benefits of Having Fun
- Do you need more fun in your life?
- 30 Ways to Bring Back Fun Into Your Marriage
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(Photo source: sxc.hu)
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