News on Health & Science

A Fake Smile Can be Bad for Health

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New research suggests that putting on a fake smile to mask your unhappiness or displeasure may have unexpected consequences. It can actually worsen your mood and cause you to withdraw from tasks.

In a study published this month in the Academy of Management Journal, scientists tracked a group of bus drivers for two weeks, focusing on them because their jobs require frequent, and generally courteous, interactions with many people.

The scientists examined what happened when the drivers engaged in fake smiling, known as “surface acting,” and its opposite, “deep acting,” where they generated authentic smiles through positive thoughts, said an author of the study, Brent Scott, an assistant professor of management at Michigan State University.

After following the drivers closely, the researchers found that on days when the smiles were forced, the subjects’ moods deteriorated and they tended to withdraw from work. Trying to suppress negative thoughts, it turns out, may have made those thoughts even more persistent.

But on days when the subjects tried to display smiles through deeper efforts — by actually cultivating pleasant thoughts and memories — their overall moods improved and their productivity increased.

Women were affected more than men. Dr. Scott suspected cultural norms might be at play: women are socialized to be more emotionally expressive, he said, so hiding emotions may create more strain.

THE BOTTOM LINE :Research suggests that an inauthentic smile to hide unhappiness can further worsen your mood.

Source:New York Times February 21, 2011

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Healthy Tips

Exercise the Best Drug for Depression

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Psychologist Jasper Smits is working on an unorthodox treatment for anxiety and mood disorders. The treatment is free and has no side effects. What is it? Exercise.

Research has shown again and again that patients who follow aerobic-exercise regimens see improvement in their depression — improvements comparable to that of those treated with medication. Exercise not only relieves depressive symptoms but also appears to prevent them from recurring.

According to Times Magazine:
Molecular biologists and neurologists have begun to show that exercise may alter brain chemistry in much the same way that antidepressant drugs do — regulating the key neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine.”

Source: Time Magazine June 19, 2010

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Meditation News on Health & Science

Meditation Key to Treat Depression

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People with severe and recurrent depression could benefit from a new form of therapy that combines ancient forms of meditation with modern   cognitive behaviour therapy, early-stage research by Oxford University psychologists suggests.


The results of a small-scale randomised trial of the approach, called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), in currently depressed patients are published in the journal Behaviour Research and Therapy.

In an experiment, 28 people currently suffering from depression, having also had previous episodes of depression and thoughts of suicide, were randomly assigned into two groups.

One group received MBCT in addition to treatment as usual, while the other just received treatment as usual. The result indicated that the number of patients with major depression reduced in the group which received treatment with MBCT while it remained the same in the other group.

The therapy included special classes of meditation learning and advice on how best participants can look after themselves when their feelings threaten to overwhelm them.

Professor Mark Williams, who along with his colleagues in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford, developed the treatment said, “We are on the brink of discovering really important things about how people can learn to stay well after depression.”

Sources: The Times Of India


News on Health & Science Scientific Studies

Salt May Improve Your Mood


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 click & see

Researchers found that when rats are deficient in sodium chloride (common table salt), they shy away from activities they normally enjoy. A loss of pleasure in normally pleasing actitvities is one of the most important features of psychological depression.

If salt is a natural mood-elevating substance, it could help explain why so many are tempted to over-ingest it, even though it’s known to contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease and other health problems.

Resources :
Science Blog March 10, 2009
Physiology & Behavior August 6, 2009; 94(5):709-21

News on Health & Science Yoga

Laughter Therapy for Downturn Blues

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Laughter is the best medicine, even for depression and stress caused by the downturn.
…………… & see
Members of a laughing club in action.

.According to the apex body of laughing clubs in the state, their membership is growing steadily even though the economy is in the doldrums.

“The number of members in the 15-20 laughing clubs in the city proper is increasing 5 per cent every year. The rate in greater Calcutta is about 15 per cent,” said Jyotirmoy Sengupta, the secretary of the Laughing Academy of Eastern India, the apex body.

“I request anyone who is depressed or stressed because of the economic turmoil to join a laughing club and feel the difference. Many have overcome depression with laughter. Also, when you start the day with a laugh, the mind is relaxed and fresh, which may help in tackling professional challenges better,” he added.

Psychologists agree. “When one laughs, chemicals are released in the brain. This leads to a feeling of happiness. For example, when one is unhappy, thinking about something pleasant may lift the mood,” said psychologist Moharmala Chatterjee.

According to Sengupta, psychologists have found that the body doesn’t know the difference between a forced and a real laugh and “releases endorphins to relieve stress as a natural physiological response to the physical act of laughing”.

The potential for professional benefits is perhaps making more young people join laughing clubs, which mostly have elderly members.

Promotional activities by the clubs, such as a daylong programme at Rabindra Sarobar stadium on Sunday, also attract the young. The academy plans to visit schools to draw more students.

Members, whether young or old, vouch for laughter therapy. “I have been a member of a laughing club for 10 years and have benefited immensely. I am physically fit and haven’t had to visit the doctor much, except when I had malaria. Whenever I am depressed or stressed laughing cheers me up. In fact, if I miss my morning laughter session, I feel very sad,” said Banani Chakraborty, a working woman in her 40s.

You may Click to see:->Laughter as Medicine

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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