Our facial expressions can reflect a lot about what we are feeling inside. But it goes both ways! We can change our emotional state by altering our facial expression. Maybe putting a smile on your face is not your first priority, but even if you are faking it, pasting a smile on your face can improve your mood and reduce stress.
Some researchers insist that only genuine smiles are beneficial. But that is not necessarily true! A forced smile can still make you feel happy, even when your existing mood tells you otherwise. It only takes a brief time to experience its benefits. Smiling helps to reduce stress. In a 2012 study published in the journal of Psychology Science, 170 participants were told to hold chopsticks in their mouth in three formations, making them smile to different degrees without even realizing they were doing it. The experiment revealed that the subjects who smiled the biggest experienced a substantial reduction in heart rate, and quicker stress recovery. Smiling makes you more approachable. Authentic smiles on employees in the service industry influenced their impressions on customers in a positive way. Smiling makes you come across as more likable and friendly, and customers tend to engage in more positive interactions and feel more satisfied about their overall experience. An authentic smile also helps you appear more competent, which is necessary when dealing with other people! Smiling makes you seem trustworthy. In a study of 45 participants, those with the biggest smiles were perceived as the most trustworthy! Smiling also retrains your brain for the better. The brain is naturally inclined to think in negative terms as a defense mechanism, but a habitual act of smiling can help the mind move to a more positive space. Smiling helps rid the body of stress by releasing tension on a cellular level. Cells can distinguish between safety and danger, and find and repair those problems, creating an overall sense of balance within the body.
Even if you have to force a smile on your face, the benefits will overpower the sour mood that you are in. Smiling helps produce physical relaxation! So flash those pearly whites!