If you’ve ever been on stage, chances are you’ve been sternly instructed to smile like you mean it or else, but even faking it can make a situation less stressful it turns out.
Scientists put 169 participants in stressful situations with some instructed to maintain a neutral expression, some instructed to smile, and some forced to smile with the assistance of chopsticks manipulating their facial muscles, then put through a series of stressful scenarios to monitor their heart rates and have them report on their stress levels.
The participants who were instructed to smile recovered from the stressful activities with lower hear rates than participants who held neutral expressions, and those with Duchenne smiles were the most relaxed of all, with the most positive affect. Those with forced smiles held only by the chopsticks also reported more positive feelings than those who didn’t smile at all.
So, while you ‘grin and bear it,’ keep in mind that grinning is actually lightening the load.
Full story at The Atlantic.
The psychology of smiling.
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