HOW WE BECOME HAPPY
All of us want to be happy, all of us deserve to be happy nowadays. Can we, however, possibly become happy when we live in a world of stress and depression, also coping with the hectic pace of exhausting life?
Before we suffer from their side effects, scientists have luckily come up with a straightforward solution: smiling! You may question this statement, but it is scientifically proven. Smiling will make you a happy person, reduce the stress level, lower your blood pressure and pulse rate.
The science behind smiling is understandable and plain, but quite crucial. Smiles occur on our faces when the contraction of zygomaticus major muscles and orbiculoris oculi muscles bring about. Thereupon, when the production of a hormone called endorphin, also known as happiness hormone, is stimulated, it then sends signals to the muscles mentioned above to contract which eventually triggers a smile. The same can happen when we reverse the situation: a smile, even a fake one, will also send signals to brain to produce endorphine that makes us much happier. Therefore, if you want to improve your mood in such a short amount of time and make your brain happy (technically make us happy), then you can smile although you feel horribly bad.
“Pen in Mouth” experiment is a great example of what is stated above. Being an experiment published by Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 1988, scientists wanted participants to hold a pen in their teeth which causes their muscles, the two mentioned above, to contract. At the end of the experiment, the participants were asked to comment on cartoons and evaluate how funny they were. It was concluded that the participants whose muscles contracted for smiling were activated regarded the cartoons as much funnier than those who did not.
In another experiment, Botulinum Toxin (Botox) was used by researchers to paralyze the muscles of participants for a limited amount of time, making them uncontrollably smile. Their inference and conclusion was that it caused a positive shift in the participants’ mood and a plummet in the stress level. Even the forced smile can make us happy and calmer person. Although you are about to take your exams, just smile and you will easily show the examiners your full potential with the help of endorphin and smiling.
If you think you cannot manage to hold a little smile on your face, then you should remind yourself this: “Smiling is transmissible.” Hanging out with a friend who always smiles will stimulate your mirror neurons which will cause you to imitate their behaviors, provoking your smile and happiness. As a brief but appropriate reference to our ancestors’ inspirational proverbs, if you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas. They were quite right, were not they?
The significance of smiling is not open to any discussion as everybody has the right to be happy and the pathway to happiness is obviously through smiling. Keeping this quote in your mind “Do it till you make it” , if you want to get rid of your terrible and distressed mood, just smile, and wonderful things will assuredly happen in your lives in rapid succession.
Yazar: Ege Aybars BOZKURT
What's the science behind a smile? (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2018, from https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/famelab-whats-science-behind-smile
A Crisp Explanation of Facial Feedback Hypothesis With Examples. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2018, from https://psychologenie.com/explanation-of-facial-feedback-hypothesis-with-examples
Merle, A. (2015, November 21). The Science of Smiling. Retrieved March 22, 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-merle/the-science-of-smiling_b_8570354.html