Peace begins with a smile-Mother Teresa.

A quick tip to trick your brain thinking you are happy.

Scientists have known for a long time that emotions are accompanied by numerous changes in the body,from elevation in the heart wall to flexion of zygomatic major muscle(i.e smiling).Your brain actually pays attention to what your body is doing,and it affects your emotions.This was first called the “facial feedback hypothesis”,but it applies to more then just muscles of the face.

Smile.Seriously,just do it.Most people think that we smile because we are happy;we are happy because we smile.

One of the best experiments to demonstrated this came from the late ’80’s.The researchers did not want to influence the results by telling subjects that the study was about emotion,so they devised an ingenious way to get the subjects to flex their muscles of their face without knowing why.They had subjects hold a pencil in one of three ways.The first group had the pencil widthwise between their teeth,forcing a smile.The second group held the pencil on their lips lengthwise,which means they couldn’t smile and were actually making a kind of frown.The control group held the pencil in their hand.Then the subjects looked at some cartoons,and rated how funny they were.The “smile” group gave the cartoons much higher “funny” ratings than the ” frown” group,while the control group was somewhere in the middle.

Facial feedbacks work because the brain senses the flexion of certain facial muscles (like the zygomatic major,which is required to smile) and iterprets it as “Oh, I must be happy about something”.Similarly,if that muscle isn’t flexed then your brain thinks,”Oh,I must not be happy”.

In addition to the direct neural feedback,in the real world you also get the added advantage of social feedback.Smiles are infectious.So even if you don’t feel much happier,the people around you are likely to smile,and that can improve your mood as well.

Lastly,if you can workup the energy to actually smile,you’ll probably have an even bigger benefit.While the zygomatic major controls the corners of your mouth,there is a muscle at the corner of your eyes called the obicularis oculu that only flexes when you are actually smiling.So If you really want to get the biggest facial feedback benefit,find something to laugh about.That will likely to generate a true smile.This is also a great tip for becoming more photogenic(Trust me,I mean look at me in the above pic).

So next time you want to improve your mood a little,all you have to do is flex your zygomatic muscles to raise the corners of your mouth.Although,if you want to win Miss Universe Title you’ll have to flex those obicularis oculi.

Keep smiling Always

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