A smile will make everyone brighter. Scientists reveal simple way to make yourself happier

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Smile will make everyone brighter. Scientists talked about a simple way to make yourself happier

Researchers have finally reached agreement on the “facial feedback hypothesis”.

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For decades, scientists have argued about the benefits of smiling – there have been hundreds of different arguments for and against, and now psychologists have finally come to some kind of consensus. Studies show that pursed lips make us feel a little happier, writes The Guardian.

The “facial feedback hypothesis” is not new. Back in the 1980s, a study showed that people found Gary Larson's “The Far Side” comics more fun when they held a pen between their teeth without letting their lips touch it. Scientists believed that holding the pen in this way activates the smile muscles, which in turn sends positive signals to the brain.

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However, in 2016, 17 different laboratories tried to replicate the 80s experiment and failed. Three years later, an analysis of earlier studies showed that there was still an effect, but the controversy still did not subside.

In the end, scientists decided to put an end to this story. A group of research scientists from Stanford University led by Nicholas Coles conducted their own experiment. The study involved about 4 thousand people from almost two dozen countries. The recipients were divided into three groups: the first reproduced the experiment with a pen, the second imitated the facial expressions of smiling actors, and the third moved the corners of the lips to the ears and raised the cheeks using only the facial muscles.

After completing the task, the subjects were asked to assess the level their happiness when they grimaced, sat with a neutral expression and looked at pictures of kittens, puppies, fireworks and flowers.

Scientists came to the conclusion that the method with a pen in their teeth did little to activate emotions. Perhaps this is due to the fact that people had to clench their teeth. At the same time, two other approaches showed an increase in happiness levels, albeit with a small effect. On average, the effect was the same as when people viewed happy photos.

According to Coles, emotional experience is most likely based on feedback or sensations from the peripheral system. For example, a racing heart can make people feel anxious, while furrowed eyebrows, for example, cause anger, and a forced smile makes us a little happier.