Our moods are never stable. They shoot up and, at other times, they dive down, sometimes multiple times a day. These elations and dumps in turn affect other aspects of our day. Imagine today to be your anniversary, but you wake up with a new idea about the project you are currently working on, so you run straight to your laptop to work on it, resolving that your anniversary should not interfere with your work ethic. But, if your spouse picks a fight with you for working on your anniversary, it will rob off your excitement in moments and leave you angry and sad. Now, you will feel repulsion towards both works and spending the next few moments with your spouse. (Replication of the incident at home could be dangerous, wish your spouse first thing in the morning😊)
Jokes aside, last semester when I was studying for the Psychology final, I came across an extremely interesting theory, which offers a potential solution to the problem of our everchanging moods. This theory suggests that we might be able to boss our emotions around a bit instead of letting them boss us around. The answer to bossing your feelings is (Drum Roll!), body language, or actions.
Before I go on to tell you the theory, let’s do an experiment. You need to smile, a broad smile, till you finish reading the post, if you are up for it, you can even dance a bit after you are done reading the post. As we all know our expressions, body language, and actions tell those around us about our mood, body language, and expressions being largely unconscious and even if we try to control them micro-expressions always escape our faces.
Some scientists suggest that it may be our expressions guiding our emotions instead of our emotions guiding our expressions. Though research does not suggest the theory to be true, it isn’t entirely false. In general, our moods might guide our expressions, but our expressions and actions can influence our moods to a certain degree. This is why we often turn to food when we are anxious because if we know that there is no true danger to us, we try to coax ourselves through food because our ancestors could not afford to munch when they were being chased by predators. This subconsciously tells us that there is no need to worry because if you casually (anxiously) munching on a chocolate bar there is no true danger. Also, when you are extremely afraid, when you see a spider, for example, you lose all your appetite, because instinctively unlike an exam this feels like real danger (Caught you checking for spiders on the wall beside you!).
This is why if you are feeling low simply adding a skip to your step and showing your teeth to the world as if you are doing an advertisement for your dentist will elevate your mood to a great extent. Your cheeks might be hurting with the broad smile you had to force throughout the post, but aren’t you feeling a bit happier than you were a few moments ago?
Next time when you are in pain, try smiling instead of grimacing.