Posted by Nicole on March 18, 2014

The human mind is a strange bath of chemicals, wrapped around a center that stores light, sound, and other forms of information in a container that is said to be one of the most complex structures in the known universe. We spend all day thinking of different ways to think, and constantly contend with holding two opposing ideas at the very same time. It may be no wonder, then, that human mood and emotion are rarely understood as well.

Boosting one's mood is often tied to personal experiences and interactions, but there are also scientifically researched mood boosters, with studies to back them up. Some are odder than others.

1. Dirty Laundry 

The “Biology of Reproduction” journal reported that women can get a mood boost from smelling the dirty laundry of a partner. No, this is not a gag. Researchers discovered that women responded positively when presented with the scent of a romantic partner, one that is unquestionably tied to the presence or perspiration.

The chemical cocktail found in sweat, combined with the mind's familiarity with that scent, can lift a woman's mood. Some scientists have even speculated that the act of kissing began as a method through which a person could more readily smell their partner's face. Romantic, isn't it?

2. Light

You may be thinking, “Well, of course.” Hold that thought, because we're talking about light in your ear canals. A researcher in Finland by the name of Juuso Nissila created a device called the “Valkee.” At $270 per device, it resembles headphones, but instead of pumping music into your head, it pumps light.

On some level, it makes sense that the development comes from Finland, a country where the sun can occasionally rise at 10 in the morning, and then set at 3 in the afternoon. The winter blues are a real phenomena; Nissila is convinced that parts of the body's nervous system respond positively to light, which is why these devices try to send beams straight to the brain.

3. Forcing Yourself to Smile 

As part of the “fake it 'til you make it” school of thought, forcing yourself to smile seems like advice someone would give so that others are more pleasant, and that's not a coincidence. When we consider our mood, we may not always consider the effect that it can have on people around us. They gauge us by our body language and our facial expressions, which is why having a bad mood on a bad day seems to be the standard combination.

One fix? Just forcing yourself to smile. A study performed at the University of Cardiff found that respondents who have had Botox treatments were happier than the average. Why? They're simply unable to frown due to the injections, which paralyze some of the muscles in the face. It may stand to reason that when you laugh, the world will laugh with you, so it only makes sense that a smile also invites happier company.