When it comes to smiling, “fake it until you make it” may be the best way to relieve stress, according to a new study.
Smiles are highly visible signs of happiness, but researchers from the University of Kansas wanted to see whether faking a smile could improve a person’s mood and help them get through a stressful situation.
In the study, published in Psychological Science, participants carried out stressful tasks while holding chopsticks in their mouths. The chopsticks were meant to mimic different facial expressions—neutral, a standard smile involving just the muscles around the mouth, and a Duchenne smile using both the mouth and eye muscles.
People who held fake smiles recovered faster, which showed up as a lower heart rate. This change in stress level was even more noticeable for people with the full eye/mouth smile.
Read the whole story: Men’s Fitness