According to a recent Scientific American article, a number of studies suggest our feelings are strengthened, perhaps even stimulated, by the faces we make.
Don’t Frown, Be Happy
In one study, frown-impaired Botox injectees felt happier than people who were free to frown. And the botoxers didn’t feel any more attractive, in case you’re thinking that would account for their mood lift.
One of the researchers, Michael Lewis, said:
It would appear that the way we feel emotions isn’t just restricted to our brain—there are parts of our bodies that help and reinforce the feelings we’re having.
I Frown, Therefore I’m Cranky
In another study, people who frowned during an unpleasant situation felt more pain than those who kept their faces neutral or relaxed. People with calmer faces experienced less distress.
What We Can Do Differently
The article goes on to say that deliberately suppressing negative emotions can lead to those feelings leaking out in other ways. Sounds messy.
Instead, smarter dos and don’ts might be:
Don’t let your face exaggerate
If something’s bad, feel it – but avoid overdoing the drama.
Don’t let the long face linger too long
Feel it, then let it go.
It might just strengthen your happiness. Try it now!