Happy people think fast thoughts, say researchers at Princeton and Harvard. They asked two groups to perform the same tasks—problem-solving, reading, and watching TV—at different speeds. Those forced to move along briskly felt more elated, creative, even powerful, Scientific American reports. The findings suggest a crossword puzzle or brainstorming session can release mood-enhancing dopamine in the brain, and help cure the blues.
Rapid-fire thinking can have negative consequences, too. For people with bipolar disorder, the information overload can feel unpleasant. And while fast and varied tasks produce good feelings, repetitive motions—at any speed—dampen spirits. Still, “these little bursts of positive emotion add up,” says a psychologist, who notes that happiness can improve immunity, socialization, and productivity.