Get this: the more we smile, the happier we feel and the better our bodies can physiologically cope with potential stressors in our lives. Sound hard to believe?
If you haven’t heard about this experiment before, it will totally blow your mind. In the late 80s, a bunch of researchers discovered that when subjects of their study were forced to unknowingly smile (by putting a pen in between their teeth horizontally which facilitated the muscles associated with smiling), they experienced more intense humour responses to a cartoon than those who were forced to unknowingly frown (by putting a pen in between their lips vertically which inhibited the muscles associated with smiling).
This research has been since validated and expanded to include criteria such as the kind of smile involved (a fake smile which just engages the muscles around the mouth vs a more genuine smile which also engages the muscles around the eyes), and the kind of experience involved (positive, negative and stressful situations too). Findings demonstrate that any smile (even a fake one) can help to reduce the intensity of the body’s stress response, regardless of whether a person actually feels happy or not! The more genuine the smile though (one that engages the muscles around the eyes), the greater the effect.
This is pretty huge in our opinion! It basically means that as long as we have the awareness to realise when we are having an ‘off-day’ or an ‘off-moment’, all we need to do is actively induce a smile and it will literally transform our emotional state, and our entire day for that matter.
Still don’t believe it? Let’s do our own Centred Study! Our challenge to you this week is to just give it a go (it can’t hurt)….Smile as much as you possibly can. When your alarm clock fails to go off in the morning = Smile. When the traffic light turns red on you = Smile. When you just miss your train in the morning = Smile. When the printer stops working = Smile. When your colleague/boss frustrates you = Smile (you might want to go to the bathroom for this one). We’d love to hear about any experiences you have so please email us or comment on our FB page to let us know 🙂