It sounds like the most useless advice imaginable: Just put on a happy face. Conventional wisdom is that smiling is an effect of feeling happy, rather than the other way around. Simply smiling in stressful situations can’t possibly make you feel any better, right?
Wrong. A fascinating new study by University of Kansas psychologists that will soon be published in the journal Psychological Science indicates that, in some circumstances, smiling can actually reduce stress and help us feel better.
“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.”
Read the whole story: Smithsonian Magazine