Brain Bulletin #17 - Make Your Brain Happy On Command!in Brain Bulletin
How would you like to make yourself happier anytime, anywhere...on command?
Any drama student knows that body language, and facial expression depicting any human emotion can be faked. The brain's emotional response to this change is not in the control of the person experiencing it. Your cortex can consciously modify your face and body language, but the accompanying emotional response is subconscious.
There is strong scientific evidence from the University of California that people can change mood by changing their facial expression, posture, and movement to reflect a different emotion than the one that they are currently experiencing. For example, if you feel down, you can act as if you were happy and the brain seems to follow!
The patterns of nerve action and muscle that create an outward expression of happiness trigger neurological changes that make your brain happier in reality! A fake smile on your face has been shown to increase heart rate, finger temperature, and stimulate the part of the left frontal cortex associated with spontaneous joy.
We usually think of our emotions as things that "happen" to us. Look at the way we talk: overcome by joy, paralyzed by fear, thrown into a state of misery. Brain research tells us that we have much more control that we think (even if you are a bad actor). So, if you want to feel better...the answer has been staring you in the face your whole life.
In the next Brain Bulletin you will learn how to keep your brain fit.