Brave Browser Fast and secure web browser  
No external plugins or adjustments required! The Brave web browser simply offers the most secure and incredibly fast web browser. Enjoy browsing without pop-ups YouTube or Web Advertising (pop-up blocker), malware and other annoyances.

¡Download Free!

Science says fake smiling is good for you

1 month ago 19

Stephen Coard had been homeless almost all of his adult life but has found a way to remain positive: by smiling.

On the corner of Currie St in Adelaide’s CBD, Mr Coard, 50, sits with a sign ‘Smile. It’s free’ and grins at everyone passing by.

“You have to want to be happy. I think everybody does. The key is you can choose that,” he said.

“I’ve been doing this for two and a half years and eventually I found the way to (positive) mental health and it helps a great deal.

“I don’t have bad day now. I have bad moments but I can move on at any time I choose.”

Mr Coard was homeless until June when the state government put up displaced South Australians in hotels and motels during COVID-19’s peak.

He now lives in Woodville but catches public transport to the city every morning to smile at others.

At a time of stress, anxiety and uncertainty with COVID-19, it can be difficult to be optimistic. Now, science confirms the act of smiling can trick your mind into being more positive.

Researchers from the University of South Australia found that by moving your facial muscles, it alters the recognition of facial and body expressions and generates more positive emotions.

The study, published in Experimental Psychology, looked at the impacts of a covert smile on the perception of facial and body expressions where participants held a pen between their teeth, forcing their facial muscles to replicate a smile.

UniSA’s Lead researcher Dr Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos said the finding had important insights for mental health.

“When your muscles say you’re happy, you’re more likely to see the world around you in a positive way,” he said.

“We found that when you forcefully practise smiling, it stimulates the amygdala – the emotional centre of the brain – which releases neurotransmitters to encourage an emotionally positive state.

“For mental health, this has interesting implications. If we can trick the brain into perceiving stimuli as ‘happy’, then we can potentially use this mechanism to help boost mental health.”

Dr Marmolejo-Ramos said there was a strong link between action and perception, with perceptual and motor systems intertwining humans emotionally process stimuli.

“A ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ approach could have more credit than we expect.”

Remember: if you’re having a bad day, smile anyway.

Read Entire Article