A Free Way to Stress Less

A Free Way to Stress Less

Are you smiling?

Well, you should be. Researchers have known for some time that genuine, joyful smiles confer health benefits like lower heart rates and stress reduction, but now it's been found that faking it might be just as good.


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The Wall Street Journal makes the distinction between the Duchenne smile (smiling with your eyes) and the "Pan Am" smile, named after the uniform smile worn by the classic fight attendants.

The Duchenne, the more genuine version, has largely been lauded as the smile with more mental and physical health benefits, but the Pan Am is gaining ground—in fact, researchers found that simply making a person's face resemble a smile by manipulating them with chopsticks made a difference.

Facial expressions not only affect the moods of those around you (think of how you feel when your boss is glowering nearby), but can work from the outside-in as well. Researchers are currently studying whether the frown line between our eyebrows makes us only angrier, and how suppressing facial expressions affects our connections with other people.

So, next time the phone rings, or your deadline gets moved up, or your computer freezes ... smile!


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