Everyone experiences emotional ups and downs. Life today is fraught with many stressful situations which can lead to irritability, stress, agitation and moodiness. But brain scientists and psychologists at Swansea University are developing a new technique which can reduce the impact of stress on mood and help improve your emotional wellbeing.

Dr Frederic Boy, of the Department of Psychology and School of Management at Swansea University, and colleagues have developed new brain science research employing weak electrical impulses to stimulate the frontal cortex by placing electrodes on the top of the head.

Dr Boy added: “Advances in transcranial electrical stimulation techniques mean we are able to investigate different clinical and non-clinical people and specific areas of the human brain and see how those regions regulate people’s behaviour."

The scientists studied 66 healthy young women, with no history of psychiatric disorders or substance dependence. The volunteers filled in questionnaires, which helped assess different aspects of their current mood, the building bricks of the emotional and physical wellbeing. They underwent a course of 12 min-a-day brain electrical stimulations sessions for five days. A total of 22 individuals received an ineffective, but realistic, placebo stimulation, while the 44 others were administered a real, active stimulation.

Over the duration of the research, the team found that those volunteers who received the active stimulation gradually reported having experienced less negative mood states in the past day. On the contrary, participants in the placebo group did not report notable changes in mood (Austin et al., 2016).

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Austin A, Jiga-Boy GM, Rea S, Newstead SA, Roderick S, Davis NJ, Clement RM and Boy F (2016) Prefrontal Electrical Stimulation in Non-depressed Reduces Levels of Reported Negative Affects from Daily Stressors. Front. Psychol. 7:315. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00315