Who would have thought that simply offering a genuine smile (engaging your entire face) to yourself in a stressful situation would reduce your heart rate and lower the amount of stress placed on your body?
Researchers at the University of Kansas found that participants who offered a genuine smile – naturally or forced – while performing stressful tasks, experienced a decrease in heart rate, while those who did not smile or offered a half-hearted smile did not experience the same benefit. Researchers say that this suggests that offering a genuine smile may reduce the intensity of the body’s stress response, regardless of whether people actually feel happy or not.
Next time you find yourself in a stressful situation – smile wide! One of the lead authors of the study, told the Daily Mail online, “The next time you are stuck in traffic or are experiencing some other type of stress, you might try to hold your face in a smile for a moment. Not only will it help you ‘grin and bear it’ psychologically, but it might actually help your heart health as well!”