Your body on… a wed­ding

Here comes the bride... and some body changes. What to ex­pect – for bet­ter or worse

Women's Health Australia - - NOVEMBER 2017 - WH

What re­ally hap­pens to your body and brain when the con­fetti rains down

AS AN­TIC­I­PA­TION BUILDS...

Open­ing the in­vite lights up your brain’s pre­frontal cor­tex (as­so­ci­ated with pos­i­tive think­ing), which prompts a mood bump that can last for weeks.

Ac­cord­ing to Amer­i­can Ex­press, it costs an av­er­age of $900 (!) to at­tend a wed­ding – but it’s money well spent. A study in The Jour­nal of Pos­i­tive Psy­chol­ogy re­vealed shelling out for ex­pe­ri­ences boosts your plea­sure fac­tor more than buy­ing phys­i­cal stuff.

DURINGTHECEREMONY...

The rea­son you’re weepy? Seeing the cou­ple hap­pily tear up as they ex­change vows ac­ti­vates mir­ror neu­rons – brain cells that cause you to re­act in the same way as the peo­ple you’re watch­ing. The closer you are to the pair, the eas­ier it is to “catch” their emo­tions. Let it flow! Ex­press­ing all the feels has been linked to a longer, hap­pier life, say Ger­man re­searchers.

Tune into any feel­ings caused by wit­ness­ing the “I dos”. (Ex­cite­ment? Worry?) Your emo­tions may re­veal what you re­ally think about big changes in your own life. Mulling them over in the fol­low­ing weeks will help pro­vide clar­ity about waltz­ing down the aisle your­self, switch­ing jobs or mov­ing to a new city.

AT THE RE­CEP­TION...

Hang­ing out with friends and rel­a­tives can slow heart rate and re­duce blood pres­sure, so you feel more re­laxed. Don’t know any­one else there? Make small talk with the bride’s cousin. Chat­ting with new peo­ple adds to the gen­eral hap­pi­ness of a so­cially en­gaged life.

And don’t pass on the macarena! A study in Bi­ol­ogy Let­ters showed get­ting down in syn­chro­nised dance trig­gers your body’s nat­u­ral pain-re­lief sys­tem, re­leas­ing en­dor­phins. In other words: fun group bond­ing and more en­ergy to shake it.

Spend­ing time lis­ten­ing to loud mu­sic can in­jure nerve end­ings in your ears. Hear a low hum after the mu­sic stops? That’s a sign the tiny cells in your in­ner ear have been tem­po­rar­ily dam­aged by high deci­bels. Take a 15-minute break from the tunes, and see your GP if the prob­lem lasts longer than a few days.

High heels cause you to shift your centre of grav­ity for­ward, so the ball of your foot bears most your body weight. Ouch! Kick off those killer stilet­tos and re­lieve any pres­sure by draw­ing the al­pha­bet with your toes. And pop a cheeky pair of flats in your bag, too.

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