“Smile, though your heart is aching…” so goes this beautiful song composed by Charlie Chaplin, and sung most enchantingly by Nat King Cole. As it turns out, he might have been onto something- a study has shown that smiling itself can decrease stress- even a forced smile.
“participants who were instructed to smile, and in particular those with Duchenne smiles, had lower heart rate levels after recovery from the stressful activities.” (source)
(A Duchenne smile, also known as a genuine smile, uses the muscles surrounding both the mouth and eyes- as opposed to a “standard” smile, which engages only the muscles around the mouth.)
Fascinating, yes? I’ve often thought of smiling as a result of happiness, but apparently it works the other way around, too- happiness as the result of smiling.
Want more? You can see the study published by the Psychological Science journal, get some tips on How to Smile from WikiHow, and read more Fascinating Facts About Smiling at PickTheBrain.