Whenever we feel happy, we smile. That’s a given. But does it work the other way? Can smiling actually bring about feelings of happiness?
In a nutshell, scientists suggest that—yes —regulating facial expression can actually regulate mood. In one study, participants viewing cartoons while holding a pencil in their mouth (which forces a half-smile) were more likely to enjoy those cartoons and find them funny. And an even more recent experiment showed that most participants reported feelings of happiness when their cheeks were physically lifted.
So by engaging our smiling muscles, we may be more likely to assess situations in a positive way!
Want to learn about more ways to find happiness? Check out MHappy’s website at www.mhappy.org and stay tuned for more!
1) Strack, F., Martin, L. L., & Stepper, S. (1988). Inhibiting and facilitating conditions of the human smile: a nonobtrusive test of the facial feedback hypothesis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(5), 768-777. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3379579
2) Mori, K., & Mori, H. (2009). Another test of the passive facial feedback hypothesis: when your face smiles, you feel happy. Perceptual and motor skills, 109(1), 76-78.