Did you know your face has 43 muscles and when you activate those muscles it completely transforms your mood. Of course this could be for better or worse from smile to frown, but science has now proven that just by forcing yourself to smile you can reverse some of the so-called chronic ailments like depression.
Several studies like a famous study published by the University of Berkeley have unequivocally proven that when you simply fake doing something that feels unnatural, but you know it’s good for you, it eventually becomes natural.
According to the Berkeley study, patients who were diagnosed as “clinically depressed” were instructed to sit in front of a three way mirror and fake a smile from ear to ear for 4 weeks, 20 minutes per day. At the end of the study no one needed medication and not one patient could say that they were still depressed.
In another study psychologists at the University of Cardiff in Wales found that people whose ability to frown is compromised by cosmetic botox injections are happier, on average, than people who can frown. The researchers administered an anxiety and depression questionnaire to 25 females, half of whom had received frown-inhibiting botox injections. The botox recipients reported feeling happier and less anxious in general; more important, they did not report feeling any more attractive, which suggests that the emotional effects were not driven by a psychological boost that could come from the treatment’s cosmetic nature.
Good grief… so can botox make you happy? I’d say forget the expensive injections of poison and just watch this video below. I guarantee it will make you smile.
It turns out that not just our grins, but all of our facial expressions are contagious, according to a paper published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences .
We tend to mimic the smiles or frowns of others because it helps us better understand what other people are feeling, allowing us to respond appropriately.
Adrienne Wood, a Ph.D. student in psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and lead author of the paper, told The Huffington Post that “sensorimotor simulation” in our brains is what causes this bizarre mimicry to occur without us even realizing it.
“When you see a facial expression and you want to know what it means, you recreate that expression in your brain,” Wood said. “In daily life, you rarely observe facial expressions in a vacuum, and we believe that you combine information from sensorimotor simulation with your understanding of the situation in order to fully comprehend other people’s feelings.”
For the paper, more than 120 previous studies were reviewed to help describe how exactly we simulate the facial expressions of others in social situations.
Based on their review, the researchers concluded that when we mimic someone else’s facial expression, we trigger that same emotional state in ourselves, which then allows us to formulate an appropriate social response.
So yes, smiling is really important if you want to be happy and healthy. And the good news is we can ditch the funky mood by simply making ourselves smile or we can watch others smile in videos, comedies or just surround ourselves with happy more conscious people. So keep smiling and feel free to add comments below. -C