If asked the question”Does Botox Make You Happier?” most regular Botox users would quickly answer with a resounding “Yes!”
New studies suggest that Botox provides happiness in a much subtler way than just the joy of eliminating wrinkles. The facial feedback hypothesis posits that just as our emotions influence our facial expressions; our expressions can actually loop back and influence our emotions. Since cosmetic Botox users most often treat the upper face where negative emotions such as anger and worry are expressed, it follows that using Botox can dampen the feelings of anger or worry for patients over time.
The subtle happiness boosting has to do with repressing the involuntary facial mimicking that all primates do. In his fascinating article “Why Darwin Would Have Loved Botox,” Carl Zimmer explains that humans involuntarily mimic emotions seen on other’s faces in about a third of a second (the mimic lag time is half a second for orangutans). With a population of 1.6 million in Manhattan, there is no lowering the stimuli from our fellow New Yorkers on the streets, subways or bodegas, but perhaps not giving back an involuntary frown to a frowning cab driver is a step toward more happiness.