Navanit Arakeri, who is 31 and lives in Bangalore, sent me the following email about the effect of looking at faces in the morning:
Thank you, it’s the most extraordinary thing. It’s taken my average daily mood from 6/10 to about 8/10 [on a 1-10 scale where 1 = very, very bad mood, 5 = neutral, and 10 = amazingly good mood. 6/10 = just better than neutral and 8/10 = very good. Note: if 5 = neutral, then a 1-9 or 0-10 scale will work better than a 1-10 scale] It has made me officially “happy”. And much more emotionally resilient to irritants and bad news.
I do it on waking at around 8:00 AM every day. I play “morning news” videos on mute on my iPad with no zoom (so it’s much smaller than life-sized). Example video
I do it for only 20-40 minutes, usually around 25 minutes. I’ve been doing it for about 45 days now.
I’m seeing a few interesting differences compared to your experience:
1. I don’t get the evening irritability at all. In fact, sometimes I get a Big Mood Improvement (see #2) in the evening (around 8:00 PM). The evening effect doesn’t happen every day, while the morning improvement is much more consistent.
2. Sometimes the mood improvement is so strong that I have an involuntary smile on my face. I can sit and stare into space feeling very happy. . . .
Sleep quality has been good throughout.
What led him to try it? “I wanted a simple self-experiment to test my lifelogging iPhone app and this fit nicely. I had read your original self-experimentation paper several years back, but never got around to trying it,” he said.
How long before he could tell it was working? “It was very clear by the 3rd morning,” he said.
He recorded the “involuntary smile” states, which lasted 30-60 minutes, on his iPhone. This graph shows how often they happened versus time of day over a 33-day period:
A value of 8, for example, means that there was roughly a one-quarter chance that during that time period he would be in the “involuntary smile” state. Before this the likelihood of involuntary smiles was zero.