Smile Your Way to a Stress-Free Life

Smile Your Way to a Stress-Free Life

Say cheese!

Believe it or not, a big smile may be your key to a stress-free life.

A new study from the Association of Psychological Science suggests that those who smile after stressful activities experience lower heart rates than those with so-called "neutral" facial expressions. Psychologists explain: "Smiling during brief stressors can help to reduce the intensity of the body’s stress response."

The study tested the effects of two types of smiles: the standard smile (one that activates the muscles surrounding your mouth) and the Duchenne smile (one that activates the muscles surrounding your mouth and your eyes). Researchers found while all smiles help us de-stress, Duchenne smiles are most effective in lowering our heart rates after pockets of stress.

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And don't be afraid to show your pearly whites. Sarah Pressman, a co-head of the study, adds that we can use our grins to calm us whenever we feel anxious: “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."

And that means most Americans should smile wide when managing their money. Did you know that five of the top eight stressors in America last year were finance-related? And that women are significantly more likely to experience psychological stress sydrome--also known as burnout--before age 30 because of work pressure?

What great reasons to start smiling even more.

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