Smile like you Mean it!
We all know how good it is for the body and our health to smile, I mean really smile and some people say if you don’t feel like smiling then force yourself to so that sooner or later it will turn into a real smile.
Michigan State University have done research on the impact smiling has on our physiology. They have found that a fake or insincere smile can actually worsen our already low mood. So if you cannot smile for real then don’t bother smiling at all. They examined the effects of fake smiling or what they called ‘surface acting’, and compared it with ‘deep acting’, or genuine smiling by recalling pleasant memories or positive self talk. In their research they found that those who engaged in surface acting or “Smiling for the sake of smiling” experienced greater emotional exhaustion and withdrawal, while those who smiled as a result of cultivating positive thoughts improved their mood and withdrew less.
A simple conclusion here is to endeavour to deep act, to be sincere, smile because you mean it…..you can create that smile from within by how you focus your thinking and consequently your feelings.
There is a caveat here; while deep acting seemed to improve mood in the short-term, the researchers did note that there is a risk of feeling inauthentic if you, over a long period of time, are trying to cultivate positive feelings at the expense of feeling what is already there within you. Denial of your true state is never a clever long term strategy! Click on the links to get more detail on the research.