Recent research indicates that although being aroused in any way may make you feel positive and happy, it can come at the cost of your health.
"While happy people make better and healthier choices, this is dependent on the intensity of the positive feelings experienced. In other words, the level of arousal accompanying the positive mood state can interfere with the beneficial effect of positive mood on resistance to temptation," said authors Alexander Fedorikhin (Indiana University) and Vanessa M. Patrick (University of Houston).
In a study conducted amongst two groups, one watched a positive but calm movie clip while another set of participants watched a positive but arousing movie clip. All participants were then asked to choose between two snacks: a cup of grapes and a cup of M and Ms.
The results showed that participants who watched the arousing movie clip were more likely to choose M and Ms than those who watched the calm clip. Moreover, when participants who watched the calm movie clip would choose M and Ms, they were more likely to carefully regulate or monitor the amount of M and Ms they ate.
The team also found that participants who watched the calm movie and performed a light exercise on a step stool were more likely to choose M and Ms than those who were sedentary.
"In order to resist temptations and make choices that are healthy and have long-term benefits, a person needs to be both in a positive frame of mind and have the available mental energy needed to make good choices," the authors conclude.
The study is published in the Journal of Consumer Research.