We think of our face as reflecting our internal emotions, but that linkage works both ways – we can change our emotional state by altering our facial expression! Pasting a smile on your face, even if you are consciously faking it, can improve your mood and reduce stress.
A few months ago, new research was published in Psychological Science by Kansas researchers Tara Kraft and Sarah Pressman. They used a rather unusual way of getting their subjects to simulate different smiles: the subjects held chopsticks in their mouth in different configurations to form smiles and neutral expressions. While this seems awkward, it’s a good way to demonstrate if facial muscle activity can affect mood.
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