Mind

Danielle McCarthy

How your facial expressions affect your mind and body

How your facial expressions affect your mind and body

We’ve all heard that faking a smile can actually make you feel happier, but you might not know about all the other ways your facial expression can impact your mood and even your body.

From improving your memory to protecting your heart health and even boosting your self-confidence, here are five little facial expression tricks for you to try.

1. Improve your memory by moving your eyes

You’ve just made it to the shops and the horror sets in – did I lock the front door? If you can’t remember, try moving your eyes from side to side for 30 seconds. According to a UK study, this simple exercise increases recall by 10 per cent by forcing the right and left parts of the brain to work together.

2. Avoid squinting to stay happy

It’s time to whip those sunglasses out! The sun may be shining, but you won’t be if you keep squinting. Italian researchers found that since squinting uses the same muscles as frowning, much the same as faking a smile makes you happier, squinting and frowning can bring on aggression.

3. Let your face give in to anger

Anger isn’t great for the body, but trying to repress it by keeping a cool façade won’t help matters, as unexpressed anger can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and lung problems. Researchers from Adelaide’s Carnegie Mellon University found that by making an angry face when you’re feeling angry will lower anger’s negative impact on the body by lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

4. Smile through the stress

While looking angry might be good for reducing anger’s negative effects, looking stressed when you’re feeling stressed will do the opposite. Instead, fake a smile – according to a US study, it reduces the heart rate increase that generally comes with stress, thus reducing stress’ harmful effects on the body and protecting heart health.

5. Nod to become more confident

About to do something nerve-wracking? Think positive thoughts out loud and nod. According to researchers from Ohio State University, nodding while trying to convince ourselves of something makes us more likely to believe it and therefore more likely to succeed.

So, the next time you’re stressed, angry or being blinded by the sun, give one of these tricks a go and let us know if it worked for you.