New studies have brought back to life the “motion is emotion” theory, which suggests that if a person cannot make a certain facial expression, in this instance frowning, he or she is less likely to feel discontented or depressed. This argument states that the brain cannot read the muscular movement that is associated with anger and thus, the individual who has the treatment will not feel angry. It is postulated that cosmetic treatments that freeze our expression can make an impact on our emotions. If so, should depressed people be given Botox?
Botox and Emotion
The cosmetics industry works at “freezing” facial features, keeping them the same and preventing degradation caused by the ravages of time. The majority of the general public believes that faces express the individual’s overall take on existence. However, the “motion is emotion” theory goes against this. This school of thought says that facial expressions dictate how we feel, instead of mirroring what goes on internally. Thus, should one frown, his or her inner self will read the expression as anger and begin to feel that emotion. Other people would then frown at the instigator, and a perpetual anger cycle would ensue.
This theory goes back to William James, an early 20th century philosopher and psychologist. He said that people do not cry because they are sad. Rather, they are sad because they cry. In this theory, emotion is seen as a bodily reaction owing to muscular and chemical events. These recent studies have brought this belief back to life. Thus, they claim that freezing one’s facial features using Botox can alleviate depression. There are also claims that Botox may prove to be the universal cure to depression. Should the general public rush to the nearest cosmetologist instead of undergoing traditional depression treatment?
The theory is based on a simplistic understanding of human emotion. It would be wise to remember that the brain picks up cues from other movements as well. Aside from facial expression, gait, voice cadence context, posture and eye movement helps one determine the emotion a person is experiencing at a said time. These other factors play an important role in social exchange and thus, the happiness level it is not just based on a sad or happy face.
Does Botox shift mood?
Happiness may be a function of accepting the natural progression of life and recognizing the nuances that create moods, expressions, and reactions. Longstanding feelings of sadness may be the result of unresolved physical or emotional conditions, and relying on remedies based on unsubstantiated theories or popular opinion may mask underlying causes.
Being cognizant of facial cues and body language may help people communicate better with one another, and viewing consumer cosmetic products more objectively may be helpful. Creating an unnatural appearance with Botox or masking feelings in other ways may further confound an unhappy state of being, and addressing things on a superficial level may not be enough. Presenting a happy face and pleasant demeanor may require a significant amount of inner work as well.