Enhance Your Mood by Drawing Food

The Wall Street Journal starts with a shocker:

Eating so-called comfort foods with large amounts of fat and sugar has been shown to vastly improve people’s moods.

And then goes on to say:

A report in the Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science suggests that drawing pictures of unhealthy food can also have positive effects on mood.

Oh really! Here is how this knowledge rained down. In a very small study, researchers in upstate New York took 61 mostly “slightly overweight” college students and had them draw, not literally on an empty stomach but while in a state of relative hunger, pictures of four specific things: pizza (high-fat, low-sugar), cupcakes (high-fat, high-sugar), strawberries (low-fat, high-sugar), and peppers (low-fat, low-sugar).

Drawing pizzas improved the subjects’ mood by 28%, while sketching cupcakes and strawberries boosted spirits by 27% and 22%, respectively. Mood in the pepper group improved by only 1%. There were no significant differences in hunger or excitement levels between the groups.

This morning, before I ate breakfast, I gave it a whirl. Either the study had primed me or it really is way more awesome to draw delicious, soul-nurturing pizza/cupcakes/strawbs than boring, virtuous peppers, because I too reported around 25% increase in happiness when I drew the first three and actually a decrease with the last one because I was like, what am I doing, what am I even doing.