In her room, at a nursing home in Wigan, there are a small pile of cheery books that may spark a happy l'il moment for my nan. One of them is a Mr. Men book by Roger Hargreaves, namely Mr. Happy. Perusing it made me want to purchase the entire collection - 46 books in total, I think. Great books! Plus, 33 Little Miss Books. Mr Hargreaves himself must surely have been a lovely character.

Mr Happy lives in Happyland where 'even the flowers seem to smile.' One day he discovers a small door in the trunk of a tree. To cut a short story even shorter, entrance to the door leads Mr Happy to the residence of Mr Miserable. I counted 3 things that Mr Happy does to help his new friend:

1) "They both set off through the wood and back to Mr Happy's cottage." Mr Happy encouraged Mr Miserable to go for a walk. Exercise, even gentle, creates new neurons in the brain, boosts blood flow to the brain and increases levels of key mood-boosting chemicals in the brain, like serotonin and dopamine.

Add to that the effect of sunshine. Our mood can be significantly boosted by feeling the sunshine on our face.

2) "Because he was living in Happyland Mr Miserable ever so slowly stopped being miserable and started to be happy." Notice it doesn't say Mr Miserable felt happy but that he 'started to be happy.' A study at the University of British Columbia found that even brief interactions with strangers tended to improve people's mood. Why? Well, researchers ruminate that we try to act more cheerful around strangers which has the corroborative effect of putting us in a better mood.

3) "Mr Miserable and Mr Happy laughed and laughed... And because they were laughing so much, everyone who saw them started laughing as well." Studies have suggested that moods are contagious.

So, to sum up, gentle exercise, especially when the sun is out, interaction with strangers, even if only brief and keeping away from The Miserable Ones, and who knows, we may find ourselves in Happyland today. :o)

A Moodscope member.

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