How Bodies Feel Happiness

Study links emotions to body parts

Turns out you might actually be heartbroken. A new study found emotions are linked to certain parts of our bodies.     Photo: Martin Poole/Thinkstock

Next time you get cold feet or a funny feeling in your gut, you’d do well to heed the warning. It could be an indicator of your emotional state.

A team of Finnish researchers found that emotions are directly linked to sensations in specific parts of our bodies. Anger is felt more in the limbs, while sadness decreases those sensations, the study reported. Happiness, on the other hand, is the only emotion felt throughout the body.

To conduct the experiment, researchers gave 700 online participants from Finland, Sweden, and Taiwan an outline of a body, and asked them to color in the regions where they felt warmer or cooler depending on their emotions. Spend five minutes and take the test yourself.

"When we first plotted the maps, it was like, wow, all the different emotions are so different," study researcher Lauri Nummenmaa told USA Today.

The results were the same for all three cultures, suggesting that the connection between emotions and specific parts of the body is universal. And while only healthy individuals were tested, researchers said their findings could help determine the mind-body link in people with mood disorders.

If our bodies can indicate our level of happiness, there are also a few practices we can follow to maximize our well-being. Check out some simple, life-improving strategies here.

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