Science has known for many years that the simple act of smiling can not only ‘turn on’ happy hormones in the body of the giver of the smile, but also in the body of the receiver of the smile.

When an individual smiles at another individual, the receiver most times, returns the smile as it is the polite thing to do. This reciprocal action is inherently a healthy practice. Both parties receive a hormone bath of serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins which is highly refreshing and it has also been shown in numerous studies to…

  • Reduce Stress
  • Decrease Cortisol
  • Decrease Blood Pressure
  • Decrease Heart Rate

A fascinating new study by University of Kansas psychologists indicates that, in some circumstances, smiling can actually reduce stress and help us feel better.

“The age old adages, such as ‘grin and bear it,’ have suggested smiling to be not only an important nonverbal indicator of happiness but also wishfully promotes smiling as a panacea for life’s stressful events,” said researcher Tara Kraft. “We wanted to examine whether these adages had scientific merit; whether smiling could have real health-relevant benefits.”

“What does this mean for your daily life? When feeling stressed, try forcing a smile on your face. If you can manage a genuine, Duchenne smile—that people often refer to as ‘smiling with your eyes,’ not just your mouth—that’s even better. For whatever reason, forcing yourself to look happier could actually end up helping you feel happier.”

“The next time you are stuck in traffic or are experiencing some other type of stress you might try to hold your face in a smile for a moment,” said Sarah Pressman, one of the researchers. “Not only will it help you ‘grin and bear it’ psychologically, but it might actually help your heart health as well.”

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