Smiling Really Does Make People Feel Happier


Published:

Photo by Frank Busch on Unsplash

Smiling really can make people feel happier, according to a paper examining thousands of participants in the Psychological Bulletin.

Did you know your smile can be a predictor of how long you’ll live -- and that a simple smile has a measurable effect on your overall well-being?

Most of us are not born eternal optimists, but being positive and grateful is something that can be imbibed; such as by trying to tweak our sense of humour, the way we react to a given situation, by being more pleasant. embracing gratitude and above else the secret to be happy may just be to smile more.

Imagine we are in a pleasant situation, like bumping into an old friend on the metro. When our brains feel happy, endorphins are produced and neuronal signals are transmitted to your facial muscles to trigger a smile. This is the start of the positive feedback loop of happiness. When our smiling muscles contract, they fire a signal back to the brain, stimulating our reward system, and further increasing our level of happy hormones, or endorphins. In short, when our brain feels happy, we smile; when we smile, our brain feels happier.

The paper, coauthored by researcher Heather Lench at Texas A&M University and researchers Nicholas Coles and Jeff Larsen at University of Tennessee, looked at nearly 50 years of data testing whether posing facial expressions can lead people to feel the emotions related to those expressions.

“These findings address a critical question about the links between our internal experience and our bodies -- whether changing our facial expression can alter the emotions we feel and our emotional response to the world,” Lench said.

“Conventional wisdom tells us that we can feel a little happier if we simply smile. Or that we can get ourselves in a more serious mood if we scowl. But psychologists have actually disagreed about this idea for over 100 years” said Coles, the lead author of the paper.

These disagreements became more pronounced in 2016 when 17 teams of researchers failed to replicate a well-known experiment demonstrating that the physical act of smiling can make people feel happier.

Using a statistical technique called meta-analysis, the team combined data from 138 studies testing over 11,000 participants from all around the world. According to the meta-analysis, posing facial expressions has a small impact on our feelings. For example, smiling makes people feel happier, scowling makes them feel angrier, and frowning makes them feel more sad.

“We don’t think that people can ‘smile their way to happiness’. But these findings are exciting because they provide a clue about how the mind and the body interact to shape our conscious experience of emotion” said Coles. “We still have a lot to learn about these facial feedback effects, but this meta-analysis put us a little closer to understanding how emotions work.”

This article was republished from Prevent Disease.

See also:
Self-Care Wisdom
Preventive Medicine And The Inner Smile

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

December 8, 2019

The Sun’s square to Neptune dominates the very early morning hours. Dreams may be disturbing as memories can haunt sleep. Inclement weather may also impact night owls. Be safe if you’re out and about before dawn. Bright ideas accompany the rising Sun…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

December 2019

Come shine with us! Join us in harmony and in our goal to bring the light of Spiritualism forward to all those who are searching.

Where:
VFW Post 2597
775 Boston Rd, Rt 3A
Billerica, MA
View map »


Sponsor: The Spiritualist Fellowship Church Of New England
Website »

More information

A beautiful collection of messages from Jeshua Ben Joseph (Jesus) that will transform your life, as it did his. Coming together to study these teachings, to ponder, to savor, to deepen our...

Cost: $25 per class

Where:
Heart and Soul Holistic Healing Center
130 Massapoag Avenue
Sharon, MA  02067
View map »


Sponsor: Heart and Soul Holistic
Telephone: 781-258-9942
Contact Name: Barbara Ann Strassman
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

2nd and 4th Monday of every month This psychic message circle is for anyone wishing to raise their connection using their psychic centers known as the “clairs.” Learn how to use...

Cost: $20

Where:
Messages From Heaven Healing and Learning Center
646 Central Street
Suite 3
Leominster, MA
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Show More...
Show Less...

What is a vigorous yoga practice, and who can benefit from it? With Marissa McAleer and Julie Rost This workshop will explore a more physical practice of yoga and how it can be used to...

Cost: $45

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
View map »


Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Contact Name: Alice Bentley
Website »

More information

The Wellness Roundtable Holistic Practitioners Network creates an environment for wellness practitioners to inspire, educate and support one another, while building community and encouraging...

Cost: $20 (Drop-ins are welcome)

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman St
#108B
Westborough, MA
View map »


Sponsor: 01581
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
Website »

More information

How would it feel to have direct education on changing your feelings so you do start to ask for what you truly want? Each month, come and practice hands-on skills to get into the habit of...

Cost: $15

Where:
Awaken Holistic Counseling Services
2 Liberty St., Unit 2L
Newburyport, MA  01950
View map »


Sponsor: Awaken Holistic Counseling Services, LLC
Telephone: 978-255-7893
Contact Name: Kerri Morrison
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The nights of December fall dark and early. Homes are filled with warm firelight and flickering candle glow. As the year draws to a close, pause under the peaceful light of December’s Full...

Cost: $10–15 suggested donation

Where:
A Touch of Magick
195 S Main Street
Uxbridge, MA
View map »


Telephone: (508) 779-7386
Website »

More information

Sound baths provide an opportunity to relax and journey into a healing, meditative and rejuvenating state. There is nothing you need to do, know or believe. Join us for a powerful, yet casual...

Cost: $25

Where:
Moth & Moon Studio
173 South River Rd
Suite #4
Bedford, NH  03110
View map »


Sponsor: Jeffrey Charles Warren
Contact Name: Jeffrey Warren
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Multi-skilled, and varied holistic practitioner group in Lincoln Area / Metro-West Boston welcomes new practitioner-members. Open invitation to any local practitioner, teacher, researcher,...

Cost: Free, or $5-$15

Where:
Member-homes/offices
Lincoln, MA  01773-4107


Sponsor: Lincoln Area Wellness Collaborative
Telephone: 781-738-1920
Contact Name: Jai Kaur

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This is a class that will teach you how to make your own wire-wrapped gemstone pendant! Don’t be discouraged—it is simpler than you think, and you’ll have great fun in crafting...

Cost: $40 per person or $35 more than one, includes supplies

Where:
The Healing Power of Flowers — Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Rd, Unit A
Salem, NH  03079
View map »


Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey
Website »

More information

Learn to overcome spinal tensions through therapeutic postures, designed to decompress your spine and relieve pain. Taught by a certified yoga therapist, classes bring you through poses...

Cost: 5/$50

Where:
Bliss Through Yoga
484 Bedford St
East Bridgewater, MA  02333
View map »


Telephone: 508-331-3564
Contact Name: Janice O'Brien
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags