You Smile Because You're Happy Or You're Happy Because You Smile??

It’s the classic James Lange Theory of Emotion. His 19th C psychological research suggested our emotions are triggered by the way we respond to events, not the other way around. Recently psychologist Sarah Pressman of the University of Kansas tested his theory by measuring volunteers’ heart beats while they performed stressful tasks.The subjects who generated a full smile during these tasks reported feeling better than those who did not. Suggesting to her, “The act of smiling — even divorced from feeling of joy — can indeed help us relax better.”

I tested Lange’s theory while throwing out today’s lawns cuttings and assorted garbage. I’m here to tell you I didn’t feel at all better! However, I did feel considerably better when I scanned another scientific report this summer from Hunter College.

Anthropologist Herman Pontzer writes in BBC.co.uk that exercise isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. He studied the West’s sedentary lifestyle along with the svelte Hadza Tribe in Tanzania who forages over many miles each day. “The big reason Westerners are getting fat is not lack of exercise, but simply because we eat too much processed sugars and fats.”

Truth be told, I’m one of the sedentary Westerners who dislikes vigorous exercise. Sorry, I know what you think of me! However, I’m willing to waddle with this extra waistline feeling a sense of calm rather than wriggle through hours of weights being told “no pain no gain.” And may I say this with a great grinning smile…

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