Friday, August 31, 2012


Even a fake grin can make you feel better. That’s the finding of University of Kansas researchers, who asked more than 150 volunteers to hold chopsticks in their mouths in one of three ways: one that kept their facial expressions neutral, one that caused them to smile with only their mouths, or one that engaged the facial muscles people use when producing a genuine grin. (click below to read more)

 The researchers then monitored the subjects’ heart rates while they performed a stressful task, such as holding a hand in a cup of ice water. The subjects who produced a full smile had the lowest heart rates, followed by those who smiled with just their mouths; both of those groups also reported simply feeling better than those whose faces remained blank. The research suggests that the act of smiling—even divorced from feelings of joy—can help us relax, study author Sarah Pressman tells “The next time you are stuck in traffic or are experiencing some other type of stress,” force yourself to grin, she says. “It might actually help your heart health.” 

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