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Does wearing sunglasses affect your mood?

Okay, bear with me, here. Let's just sit back and close our eyes. Picture a fond memory, maybe the last thing that made you laugh, or anything that makes you want to smile. Cute puppies, a smiling baby, a gentle breeze, etc. Then, take a deep breath and smile. Smile and relax. 

Do you feel happier? 

If modern psychology has anything to say about it, you should. It isn't just your conjured memory working, either. You may already know that when you feel an emotion, your body changes in response to that emotion. For instance, when you feel happy, you smile. (I know... duh.) But, what you might not know is that it is a two-way street. When you force a smile, you are essentially tricking your brain into thinking that you are happy. This is because your brain senses you flexing certain muscles (i.e. your smile), and guesses, "I must be happy about something." 

Smiling blonde woman wearing aviator sunglasses with grey lenses in front of greenery

But, what does that have to do with sunglasses? 

Just as smiling improves mood, frowning fosters negative feelings. We all know that the sun forces everyone to squint, or frown, involuntarily. Researchers took this information to the beach and surveyed random participants who were walking with and without sunglasses.

Those who were walking towards the sun without sunglasses rated their feelings of anger and aggression higher. Those who were wearing their sunglasses, and in turn reducing the need to squint, rated those feelings much lower. Now you might be thinking, "Yeah, I would be angry too if the sun was hurting my eyes and random guys were asking me about it." That's what I thought too. However, the researchers accounted for eye discomfort in their analysis. Additionally, time spent walking toward the sun did not seem to have an effect on results either - meaning Mother Nature works fast against you.

Conclusion

It's been proven time and time again that positive thinking can affect your mood. So, why can't sunglasses? If anything, it definitely can't hurt to wear shades. In addition to hopefully elevating your mood, you are also protecting yourself from some pretty nasty UV rays

Just try not to forget those shades next time you run out of the door. They just might be helping to make you a little calmer. Your friends and family will thank you.   


Sources: Smithsonian Mag, Psychology Today, T&F Online 

 


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