Smile more, feel better
Every smile makes you a day younger. ~Chinese proverb
In a recent study in the journal Psychology and Aging, strangers guessed the ages of smiling and poker-faced subjects. Those with a grin consistently “looked younger.” The study noted that our brains seem to be hardwired to look for and respond to smiling faces, even if we’re not aware of it. Study participants remembered smiling faces later on, while those with flat expressions faded from memory.
A landmark study by psychologist Robert Zajonc in 1989 showed that even “fake” smiles improved mood, though temporarily, and faking it till you make it can tip a neutral mood into positive territory. Moreover, a 2013 study at the University of Kansas found that smiling during a stressful event, such as multitasking or being stuck in traffic, can lower stress levels, including blood pressure and heart rate.