I hope you are all well this week and the madness of Christmas hasn’t totally consumed you!
I’ve been thinking about Christmas cheer and about happiness in general.
Did you know there was a study done a number of years ago that figured out smiling actually makes you happy? Fake it ‘till you make it really works.
In 1988, Strack et al conducted a study. Participants were asked to hold a pencil between their teeth whilst watching funny cartoons. The pencil could be lengthwise between their teeth or hanging down from the tip between their teeth. Try it, either way you will be forced to smile. Other participants were asked to hold the pencil between their lips, not touching their teeth. This contracts the facial muscles causing a frown or even a pout. They hypothesised that the smiling participants would find the cartoons funnier than their counter parts.
They were correct.
Even a fake smile actually makes you happier. It does make me wonder about all the ladies who ‘duck face’ or pout all the time for photographs. I wonder if that expression actually makes them unhappy to some degree?
It’s also thought that smiling through brief periods of stress, may help the body’s stress response, regardless of whether the person feels happy or not. Although, of course, a genuine smile has more benefits than a fake one.
Smiling has a number of additional benefits, according to Mark Stibich PhD from Columbia university
- Smiling makes us attractive (so do pouts push people away?).
- Smiling relieves stress – It permeates our whole being, prevents us from looking tired and worn down.
- Smiling elevates our mood.
- Smiling is contagious.
- Smiling boosts your immune system.
- Smiling lowers blood pressure.
- Smiling makes us feel good.
- Smiling makes you look younger.
- Smiling makes you seem successful.
- Smiling helps you stay positive.
So please keep smiling over the next few weeks whilst the chaos of Christmas ensues, it may just help alleviate some of the stress!
With love and light,
P.S. Look out for the Mind Body Spirit digital magazine which is coming out in the next few days and featuring yours truly.