It actually works.
Back in 1862 Duchenne De Boulogne noticed that certain muscles in our face engaged whenever we were joyous.
It was an involuntary reaction of our cheek muscles, the zygomatic major, and the orbicularis oculi. That’s a muscle right in front of our temples and below our eye. And when those cheek muscles and that special little muscle engage? That’s when we smile.
The weird thing is this is a human universal. It happens all over the world despite gender, sex, culture, race, etc.
The weird thing is that if we make ourselves smile like this, with those muscles engaged, we actually usually start to feel happier.
The process reverses.
There’s a guy who teaches the Introduction the Art of Happiness at a Harvard X class, Arthur Brooks, who has an experiment where you take a pencil and hold it between your teeth and you keep it there for 45 seconds.
When you do this you flex those muscles in your cheeks and your heart rate starts to decrease and your stress in your body? It starts to release.
What does that mean? It means that happiness is a shared condition of humans around the world.
It means we can see happiness expressed in people’s bodies.
And finally, most importantly, we can actually make ourselves feel happier just by doing that easy dorky experiment where we hold chopsticks or a pen between our teeth. How cool is that?
Brooks believes that “happiness is something that grows in us when we give it away,” and also that “happiness doesn’t just happen to you, you can manage it.”
DOG TIP FOR LIFE
Manage your happiness! Work for it! Wag your tail. Grab a stick. It’s awesome.
The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License.
Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song? It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.
WE HAVE EXTRA CONTENT ALL ABOUT LIVING HAPPY OVER HERE! It’s pretty awesome.
AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW! It’s taking a bit of a hiatus, but there are a ton of tips over there.
We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream biweekly live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.
Carrie is reading one of her raw poems every once in awhile on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!