Researchers have found that that when you smile, you “trick” your brain into greater happiness. One study concludes that your brain looks to your facial expressions to know how you are feeling. Another study suggests that you are likely to experience other people as being happier if you are smiling and feeling happy yourself. (Check out some of the articles cited at the end of this piece.)
You may have experienced your own smiling shifting you into a more positive mood, but have you remembered to consciously make use of this phenomenon? Knowing that research has confirmed that this shift is something you can generally rely on, you might want to make more use of this mood-changing tool.
In an enjoyable, short TED talk called, “The hidden power of smiling,” Ron Gutman reports that babies are actually born smiling! This Stanford professor points out that your smile can even be a predictor of how long you’ll live.
Given the many articles that explain the research on this “fake it ‘til you make it” phenomenon, why not try making it a regular part of your mental fitness tool kit? The next time you find yourself spiraling into negativity, try putting a smile on your face, take a deep breath, and see if you feel better.
Here are just a few of the articles you might want to read regarding this tool:
- Smiling can trick your brain into happiness — and boost your health
- New study shows forming a simple smile tricks your mind into a positive workday mood
- You can smile yourself a little happier, scientists suggest
- Your face and moves seem happier when I smile
- Faking a smile could make you feel happier, researchers say
- The secret psychological powers of smiling