Smiling

Smile! Everyone tells you to do it. If you are sad, in a bad mood, or having a terrible day, you are told to smile. We also smile to cover things up. If you fall on your ass, get nervous, or realize how absurd life can be, we may choose to smile, or laugh it off.

Smiling is totally natural, and as all facial expressions are, it is known across cultures as a sign of happiness or joy. But why, when we are not at all happy, are we told to, or encouraged to smile? It seems so absurd and against nature… why would we smile when all we want to do is scream or cry or fall onto the floor in a full-blown tantrum?!

The answer can be found in a study, the bottom line is, smiling makes people happier. How do we know? Well, there was a study conducted to see if smiling affected how participants rated comics. One group of participants was told to hold a pencil in their lips while reading comics. In this group, the participants appeared to be frowning. The other group of participants was told to hold a pencil in their teeth while reading comics. In this group, the participants appeared to be smiling. At the end of the study, it was found that the participants who were told to hold the pencil in there teeth (smiling) rated the comics as funnier than the group who held the pencil in their lips (frowning)!

This is only one study, and I am sure there are more, but the evidence seems pretty clear. I know that when I am in a terrible mood, and someone tells me to smile, I want to bash their face and run away crying. Maybe you feel this way too. But next time maybe instead of seeing this person as unreasonable and insensitive, you can take their advice, and go smile at a fence, or some inanimate object… see how you feel.