A photo of a smiling face on your refrigerator door doesn’t just remind you of the good old days — it can actually help you lose weight!
Surrounding yourself with happy photos, memorabilia, and cartoons encourages a positive mood, which allows you to step back emotionally and understand the big picture. Researchers Aparna A. Labroo from the University of Chicago and Vanessa M. Patrick from the University of Georgia write, “A positive mood enhances efforts to attain future well-being, encourages broader and flexible thinking, and increases openness to thinking.”
In this study, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, participants described either the happiest or unhappiest days of their lives, which induced positive or negative moods. They then filled out questionnaires that measured levels of abstract versus concrete thinking.
The researchers found that participants in good moods engage in more abstract thinking, which influences goals and motivation. Labroo and Patrick explain that people in positive moods not only adopt higher-order future goals, but they also work harder to achieve them.
When it comes to eating and weight loss, feeling good can motivate you to make healthier food choices (apples and low-fat cheddar, instead of brownies and ice cream!). So if you’re serious about a healthy lifestyle, decorate your kitchen with things that make you smile.