Your tone of voice, facial expressions, and words reflect your attitude about yourself, the person you’re talking to, and life in general.
Brain research shows that changing your facial expression actually makes you feel different—smiling makes you feel happier, frowning makes you feel angrier, gestures like sighing make you feel more hopeless. Not only does how you feel affect your facial expressions, but your facial expressions affect how you feel.
Research shows that if you watch a movie holding a pen across your mouth causing you to engage some of the smile muscles, you will think the movie is funnier than those who watched the movie without the pen. Simply smiling—even artificially—releases chemicals in the brain that make you feel happier—try it!
I’m not advocating walking around with a fake smile on your face. But it can’t hurt to become aware of your facial expressions and people’s reactions to them. Becoming aware of scowling, grimacing, or sneering allows you to choose to change your expression, and to some degree, the way you and others will feel.
by Alison Poulsen, PhD