Do you sometimes feel a stomach ache from laughing or secretly chuckling at a funny situation? That’s great! Since laughter is healthy and makes you happy. So always wear your best smile and by doing this provide your mood a helping hand.
It’s a question that has puzzled scientists for more than a hundred years: Can your facial expression control your mood? A team of scientists therefore analyzed fifty years of research on this subject. The answer? A simple smile makes you feel happy.
Only small effects
Over the past fifty years, the influence of facial expressions on more than 11,000 people around the world has been analyzed. After sifting through all the results, the team of scientists came to the conclusion: a facial expression does indeed influence someone’s feelings.
However, the effects on the mood are relatively small. In other words, when the subjects smiled, they felt slightly happier. When they frowned, they felt a little more angry, and when they looked sad, they felt a little sadder.
It has traditionally been assumed that this is indeed the case, but there has always been a group of scientists who questioned this assumption. This new study puts an end to that doubt.
There’s no quick fix
Naturally, the researchers are extremely cautious in drawing conclusions. They therefore make an important comment: laughter is not a quick fix for depression and ‘laughing yourself happy’ is an illusion.
“A facial expression such as a smile can influence our emotions to some extent, but not always. There is still a lot to learn about how these effects work, but they are worth investigating. These kinds of insights give a good picture of how the mind and the body work together and react to each other. That interaction plays an important role in how we consciously experience our emotions,” said Nicholas Coles, who led the study.
Laughter is contagious
In any case, there is no doubt that there is a connection between the mind and the body. This is a connection that can be used to give your mood a quick boost. You could try what smiling on a gloomy day can do for you. Does it change your mindset? Does it make you happier?
Those curled corners of the mouth surely don’t let your problems disappear like snow in the sun and certainly don’t silence that annoying person. But smiling at least lowers your stress level, reduces anxiety, helps you control pain, strengthens your immune system and puts others at ease. And perhaps best of all, laughter is contagious. So who’ll you be enlightening today with your smile?