Researchers found smiling can reduce stress levels and low the heart rate while performing difficult tasks.
Writing in Psychological Science, the authors tell how they studied the effects of different types of smiling in difficult situations.
Tara Kraft, of the University of Kansas, said: “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.
“We wanted to examine whether these adages had scientific merit; whether smiling could have real health-relevant benefits.”
She and Dr Sarah Pressman divided smiles into two categories – standard smiles, which use the muscles surrounding the mouth, and genuine or Duchenne smiles, which engage the muscles surrounding both the mouth and eyes.
Kraft and Pressman worked to manipulate the types of smiles to examine the effects on stress.
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