Smiling, we all do it and feel good whilst we’re doing it. Not only does it make you a more approachable person its also having an effect on the chemistry of your brain. With the ever-growing depression epidemic we’re currently facing anything to improve your levels of general happiness should be implemented.
The University of Southern Australia found that ‘facial muscular activity not only alters the recognition of facial expressions but also body expressions, with both generating more positive emotion’. The research took participants and made them place a pen between their teeth, this caused the facial expression of a smile to be achieved without the participants actually smiling. The study found that this forceful act of ‘fake’ smiling actually stimulated the amygdala to release neurotransmitters that would encourage an emotionally positive state.
In a nutshell, perceptual and motor systems are intertwined when we emotionally process stimuli meaning there is a strong link between action and perception. Do with this information as you like but it seems a ‘fake it till you make it’ attitude may actually work wonders on boosting your mental health and life outlook.