Washington: Feeling good usually makes us smile, but does it work the other way around? Yes, smiling during episodes of stress can help to reduce its intensity regardless of whether a person actually feels happy or not, according to a research.
Psychological scientists Tara Kraft and Sarah Pressman of the University of Kansas investigate the potential benefits of smiling by looking at how different types of smiling, and the awareness of smiling, affects individuals’ ability to recover from stress.
“Age old adages such as ‘grin and bear it’ have suggested smiling to be not only an important non-verbal indicator of happiness but also wishfully promotes smiling as a panacea for life’s stressful events,” says Kraft.
“We wanted to examine whether these adages had scientific merit, whether smiling could have real health-relevant benefits,” Kraft said.
Smiles are generally divided into two categories: standard smiles, which use the muscles surrounding the mouth, and genuine or Duchenne smiles, which engages the muscles surrounding both the mouth and eyes, the journal Psychological Science reports.
“The next time you are stuck in traffic,” says Pressman, “you might try to hold your face in a smile for a moment. Not only will it help you ‘grin and bear it’ psychologically, but it might actually help your heart health as well!”