Members in the Media
From: The Washington Post

Yes, You Should Smile Behind Your Mask. Here’s Why.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, I always smiled at other runners as we crossed paths. Now that we’re wearing masks, I rarely bother. And when I do, I have no idea whether the intended recipient even notices.

This sense of connection supports our well-being, whether we realize it or not. Michelle “Lani” Shiota, associate professor of psychology at Arizona State University, explains: “When we’re smiling and engaging with other people, it’s the engagement with other people that makes us feel better,” adding, “it turns out that that’s even the case if you’re introverted.” She was referring to the work of psychology researcher Luke Smillie, including a 2019 Journal of Experimental Psychology study and a 2017 Emotion study, which found that people — including introverts — tended to experience better moods when acting like extroverts.

But if you’ve never been one to smile (or smize), there’s no need to start now. Gillian Sandstrom, senior psychology lecturer at the University of Essex, says mere eye contact can enhance people’s well-being. She cites a Psychological Science study that examined the effect of receiving eye contact from a stranger. In some cases, eye contact included a smile, while in others it did not. Regardless of whether a stranger smiled at them, people reported feeling less disconnected after engaging in eye contact.

Read the whole story: The Washington Post

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