Can You Really Smile Your Way To Happiness?
Here's a study that's almost guaranteed to put a smile on your face. It's pretty well known that when someone smiles at us we instinctively smile back, but can that smile actually make you happier?
Well, according to a report in StudyFinds.org, even a fake smile can brighten your mood.
Researchers say that the simple act of making your facial muscles form a smile actually makes you feel happier. The study was held at the University of South Australia and the process itself may cause you to crack a grin. Participants had a pen placed into their mouth, forcing their faces to mimic a smile. Researchers determined that even forcefully practicing a smile stimulated the amygdala, the part of the brain where emotions are centered.
Not content with their original study, the Australian research team is building on this idea and replicating a 2009 experiment where people who were forcibly smiling were shown various images of people frowning, grinning, even walking happily or sadly, and their reactions monitored and noted. According to that study even those who were forced to smile had more positive reactions to the images presented to them.
While it may sound silly on the surface, researchers are hoping that by tricking the brain into believing that stimuli is happy they can successfully help people improve and maintain their mental health. That would be something to smile about.
The study originally appeared in the journal, Experimental Psychology.