Stressed and Still Smiling: A Smile Changes Everything

De-stressing AdviceThe daily grind is not everyone’s best mate. On some days, it is tempting to just throw in the towel. The stress can be too much and as much as you wish to visit the nearest spa, your schedule does not allow it. Even lying down all day sounds tempting, yet impossible (unless you want a notice of dismissal from your boss).

Out of all the de-stressing advice examples, ‘just put on a happy face’ might seem like the most irrelevant. It sounds ridiculous; who smiles during stressful situations?

Science, however, begs to differ. A study from the University of Kansas would make you want a brighter smile with teeth whitening in London.

The ‘Grin It, Bear It’ Principle: The Study

Smiling your problems away might sound like a useless advice. But the study from the University of Kansas’s team, published in the Psychological Science journal, insists that smiling is helpful in reducing stress for some circumstances.

The study involved 169 college students who were all clueless to the true nature of the experiment. Since telling the students the study is about smiling and stress, the researchers informed participants that multi-tasking was the primary focus.

After separating the students into three categories (neutral smilers, normal smilers and Duchenne smilers), participants performed ‘multi-tasking situations’, which invoke stress. During each task, researchers monitored the students’ heart rates and also asked for their levels of stress.

The result? Students who smiled often had lower heart rates and stress levels compared to those who did not.

What It Means for You

During stressful times, forcing a smile can be difficult. But if you wish to experience a period of comfort, encourage yourself to smile. If you come up with a Duchenne smile (smiling with your eyes), even better. Whatever the reason is, when you try to look happier, you will end up feeling better.

The next time you experience stressful situations, hold your face in a smile. It will not just light up your face; it will also light up your heart.