“Wear a smile and you have friends. Wear a scowl and you have wrinkles.” – George Eliot

Or so the wise saying goes. But what if we erased the wrinkles and turn the frown upside down with a little help from Botox? Would that make a happier person?

Well, the answer seems to be a brow-raising “Yes” – The world’s favourite Elixir of Youth might just lift your spirits on top of lifting a few years off your face!

More research is now suggesting that unknotting furrowed brows with Botox may actually lighten things up significantly for those suffering from depression.

In a Maryland study by Dr Eric Finzi, 84 study participants with severe depression for an average of 2 years and had failed to completely respond to antidepressants were randomized to receive either Botox treatment for smoothing out frown lines or a placebo injection into the same area. More than a quarter (27 percent) of those receiving Botox reported near total remission of their depression, compared with just 7 percent of those who received placebo.

Another Swiss study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research demonstrated a 47 percent reduction of depressive symptoms in the Botox group after 6 weeks, an improvement that remained through the 16-week study period. The placebo group had seen a 9 percent alleviation in symptoms.

As superficial as it sounds, the connection between the brain and the Botox mood perk may truly be skin deep. Previous psychology research shows that physically expressing an emotion does seem to be an important trigger for feelings: Forcing a frown feeds negative signals to the emotional centers your brain, and you tend to feel more anger and grief easily. Deliberate a smile to launch “happy” brain chemicals and elevate your overall mood. Hence, interrupting this negative feedback loop from frowning facial muscles with Botox disrupts the maintenance of negative emotions to help fight depression.

This concept has also been practiced by cognitive therapists – or what the Alcoholics Anonymous calls “Fake it till you make it”, implying that acting as if you feel good actually helps you feel better.

In any case, we are guessing if you’re looking better and linelessly fresh, that’s probably going to mirror in how you feel about yourself too.  Not to forget, people naturally gravitate towards pleasant faces, but tend to flee from sad, scrowly or hangdog faces, leaving them more socially isolated and sinking deeper into the vicious cycle of depression. So small amounts of Botox to ease those worry lines quickly might just be the secret catalyst to induce a grin and get you out of the whole gloomy situation.

Read More: How Your Mood Messes With Your Looks

Promising as it may seem, there is still insufficient research at the moment to support Botox as the next Prozac. However, this physical demonstration of how wearing a positive attitude makes a world of difference to your entire outlook of life is intriguing…and why there’s almost nothing an itsy-bitsy Botox can’t fix (excuses, excuses to satisfy my vanity, hehe…).

Read More: Put Your Best Face Forward

Read More: The Beauty Oscars – How Celebs Defy Age & Gravity

 

 – By Emily Wong