Is it true that a smile cheers you up?

Some of you may have heard that just smiling is enough to get rid of a bad mood. And it doesn't matter if it's a sincere smile or a strained one – in many sources it is argued that this simple action, albeit slightly, but still improves the mood. Such advice did not arise from scratch, but are the result of real scientific research. Many groups of scientists have repeatedly proven that activating certain facial muscles can trick the brain into thinking that everything is fine and a person is happy. Recently, Australian scientists decided to go further and conducted a study, the results of which showed that a forced smile not only improves mood, but also makes a person more optimistic. We can say that constantly smiling people seem to wear "rose-colored glasses" and have the ability to notice only good things.

Even a fake smile can affect your emotional state.

The magic of a smile

The results of the scientific work were published in the scientific journal Experimental Psychology . The experiment involved 136 volunteers, including 103 women and 33 men aged 18 to 50 years. What exactly was the purpose of the study, they did not know. Scientists told them that their example will be used to study the multitasking of people. One group of volunteers was asked to hold a pencil in their teeth and imitate a smile, while another just held the pencil in their lips. Then they were turned on videos with funny and sad people and asked to rate the emotional state of the characters on a special scale.

Fun fact: talking with a pencil clenched between your teeth improves diction

As you might expect, the group of people who faked a smile considered the people in the videos to be happy. And the second group, who just held the pencil in their lips, rated the emotional state of the characters much lower. Scientists have concluded that a forced smile not only improves people's mood, but also makes others more joyful and happy. The result is a kind of "rose-colored glasses" through which the world does not seem as gloomy as usual. Not surprisingly, other studies have found that people who smile often feel healthier and live longer overall. After all, negative views of the world cause stress, and in this state, a person is more susceptible to illness .

Smiling helps you look at the world with great optimism.

According to one of the study's authors, Dr. Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos, the facial muscles involved in a smile stimulate the amygdala. This area is responsible for memory, decision making and, most importantly, emotional responses. It turns out that by imitating a happy smile, anyone can deceive their brain and thereby improve their emotional state. And the better it is, the healthier a person is from a physiological point of view.

Также улучшить настроение могут медитации. Но как долго им нужно учиться?

Types of smiles

According to scientists, the human smile is a much more complex phenomenon than it might seem at first glance. For the most part, we perceive smiling as a means of expressing joy. However, psychologist Paula Niedenthal of the University of Wisconsin at Madison believes there are three kinds of human smiles. This conclusion was made in the course of studying two thousand 3D-models of smiles using different groups of facial muscles.

The psychologist and her colleagues have identified three types of smiles:

  • a reward smile , in which a person expresses joy or approval of another person's actions;
  • an affiliative smile , in which a person expresses respect for the interlocutor and shows that he is kind to him;
  • dominance smile , in which a person demonstrates his superiority over another person.

The reward smile is symmetrical and people stretch their lips sharply and raise their eyebrows. With a symmetrical acceptance smile, people stretch their lips just as sharply, but at the same time they are tightly compressed. But with a smile of superiority, one corner of the mouth is higher, and the eyebrows are raised high. All three smiles are shown in the photo below, but there should clearly be more of them. Several years ago, the author of Ilya Khel talked about the existence of 19 types of smiles .

A rewarding smile, a smile of acceptance, and a smile of excellence

Often a smile turns into laughter, which is sometimes so sincere and strong that a person begins to cry. Because of what tears appear in the eyes with a strong laugh, you can read in this material .

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