Does Smiling Make Your Happier?
Smiling is a simple act. It’s an emotion that triggers happiness to yourself and others. Your brain pays attention to what your body is doing and this affects your emotions. Your smile is a powerful tool. A simple smile spurs a chemical reaction and studies show a direct correlation between emotion and consciousness.
One study found that when subjects contorted their faces to indicate fear, their body temperatures increased and their pulses sped up. Dr. Zajonc took this observation a step further and created a proposal as to why a smile might trigger happiness. When the temperature of any body part changes, the chemical activities connected with that area also change. When your facial muscles are activated in an expression, the biochemical processes associated with those areas of the face are also altered according to that emotion. Research suggests that a cooler brain creates good emotions, while a warmer brain produces negative emotions.
Zajonc’s major point is that the internal carotid artery is a “pipe” that delivers the majority of blood to the brain. When someone smiles, causing facial muscles to stretch and tighten, veins are constricted – cutting down the amount of blood to the brain (triggering good emotions). While frowning produces the opposite effect, causing increased blood flow and in turn, negative emotions.
Fake It Till You Make It
So will smiling make you happy always even when you’re sad? No, not necessarily. We don’t recommend going to a funeral with a big smile. It will only make matters worse. However, smiling can trick your brain into believing you’re happy which can then spur feelings of happiness. Smiling can also improve your immune system, a great reason to smile more often!