Most of us at one point or another have been hit with a bad case of the blues. Despite attempts made by friends, family, and even ourselves, the road to happiness can often be a long and dwindling one. Magician-turned-psychology expert, Richard Wiseman, gives us a myth-busting response with his tip to improve our life, specifically our happiness.
“I’d like you to force your face into a smile. Don’t just sit there — actually give it a go. Force your face into a smile, now hold that expression,” said Wiseman in “The Smile Test” video on his In59Seconds YouTube channel. The quick exercise of forcing your face to make a smile to feel happier is supported by a 2012 study. The study found even in the most stressful situations, forcing a smile helped alleviate the symptoms of stress and, as a result, increased happiness.
Making an emotional face or suppressing one influences our feelings. Forcing a smile or adding emotion can influence how we carry ourselves doing everyday activities such as talking, and even walking. “If you put energy into your voice and a spring in your step, you will suddenly feel much better," Wiseman said.
Thirty-seven seconds into the video, Wiseman advises us to “stop smiling,” and asks us to evaluate how we feel, and if this method worked for us. YouTube users have agreed and disagreed with Wiseman’s method. User Plechette Dey-Foy wrote, “It really works,” while another user, Darth Kass, said, “I felt happier from seeing the smilie face than I did from holding a smile. I'm still not happy though.”
Wiseman suggests the next time we want a quick dose of happiness, just spend 30 seconds or so acting like a happy person. The secret to happiness may indeed be easier to achieve — just under 60 seconds. Give it a go, and find out if it really does work.