It looks like a bad day can't be blamed on the gloomy weather anymore. According to a new study, published in Psychological Science, it is possible to self-generate positive emotions, and these emotions may lead to better physical health and social connections.

The research was led by Barbara Fredrickson of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Bethany Kok of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences.

"People tend to liken their emotions to the weather, viewing them as uncontrollable," Fredrickson said in a press release. "This research shows not only that our emotions are controllable, but also that we can take the reins of our daily emotions and steer ourselves toward a better physical health."

The researchers determined this by conducting a longitudinal experiment in which they assigned half of the participants to a six-week-long "loving-kindness meditation" (LKM) course where participants were asked to cultivate positive feelings of love, compassion, and goodwill toward themselves and others. They were also asked to meditate at home, although how often they meditated was up to them. The other half of the participants were put on a waiting list for the course.

The researchers wanted to focus on each individual's vagal tone, because it is an indicator of how their vagus nerve is functioning-a nerve that helps regulate heart rate and is also a major part of a person's social-engagement system.

The researchers hypothesized that an "upward spiral" would take place; since people with a higher vagal tone tend to better regulate their emotions, the researchers believed a higher vagal tone would lead to more positive emotions, which in turn would mean more positive social connections, which would then boost vagal tone even higher.

Every day, for 61 days, the participants in both groups reported their "meditation, prayer or solo spiritual activity," as well as their emotional experiences and social interactions. Their vagal tone was measured only twice: once at the beginning and once at the end.

What they found was that participants in the LKM course indeed showed an upward spiral of emotions. What's more, is that those with already high vagal tones had even steeper increases in vagal tones.

Participants who were on the waiting list showed no change in their vagal tone.

According to the study, the upward spiral created a link between positive social connections and health.

"The daily moments of connection that people feel with others emerge as the tiny engines that drive the upward spiral between positivity and health," Fredrickson said in the release.