Wear a smile and have friends; wear a scowl and have wrinkles.
Dr. Eric Finzi is a man on a mission. He is out to prove that Botox injections have the power to cure depression. You heard that right… Botox may cure depression!
Now I’m not talking about the fleeting depression you get from putting on a few pounds or finding your first grey hair. I’m talking about clinical depression that has thus far been treated through psychotherapy and meds.
Well, Finzi just authored a brand new book called “The Face of Emotion: How Botox Affects Our Mood and Relationships” and is hoping to win federal approval so that insurance will begin to cover the injections. Samantha Jones would be so proud!
Of course, there have been loads of research studies done about the link between our facial expressions and moods. I remember as a kid, my own mom would tell me to smile whenever I was in a bad mood and it would make me feel better. And you know what? It works… for me.
But I’m lucky to have been born with a sunny disposition that doesn’t often dip below dissatisfaction. But for someone who is in the depths of depression and experiencing all the crippling side effects that go along with that, how on Earth could a medi-spa procedure cure something like that?
Here’s Finzi’s theory: “Depression is a neural circuit, and if you interrupt that circuit in any way, you lessen its impact.” In essence, you cripple the frown, you elevate the mood. So, changing your facial expression from a frown to a smile (or at the very least a neutral expression) may affect your mood, just like my mom always swore it did.
Another theory behind the Botox treatment’s benefits may be due to the fact that other people view your face and make a decision about you because of it. Sorry, but it’s true. We are living in a physical world and so we often do end up judging the book by its cover, even though we know better.
Think about it, if someone approaches you with a deep frown etched between their brows, you’re much less likely to feel welcoming towards them. I notice that in my own life when I walk my dog every morning. If someone walking by us is smiling or relaxed, I’ll greet them with a friendly, “Hello.” But if someone is frowning and looks unhappy, I may pretend to be looking at an interesting bird or cloud formation, and if they’re especially intimidating, I may even cross to the other side of the street. Don’t judge… I’m sensitive.
So if a depressed person suddenly starts noticing a difference in the way they are treated by others, that may feel like a positive change and cause an upswing in their mood and outlook. Could the key to changing your life really be hidden in your facial muscles? I’m definitely not a skeptic and think this could absolutely be revolutionary.
What do you think? Does Finzi have a good theory? Would you ever try a little Bo-Bo to alleviate your depression? Leave a comment below and let me know your take on this. See you there!