Smiling Makes You Happy

By Lucy Broadbent
on 31 December 2023

Fake it, till you make it.  Fresh science has proved that if you paste a smile on your face, you can trick your brain into believing you are happy and supercharge your mood. 

Even if you are feeling down in the dumps, mimicking a smile can lift your spirits, lower stress, boost your immune system and ultimately make you feel happier.

baby smile
Aleksandr Balandin at Pexels

“The concept of being able to influence our emotions by simply moving our facial muscles has long been debated by researchers, but until now, no test or theory has been globally agreed upon,” explains Dr Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos, senior researcher at the University of South Australia, who worked on the study.

Nearly 4000 people took part in the far-reaching study from 19 different countries, which also involved Stanford and Florida State Universities. All participants were given the task of mimicking smiling photographs or pulling their mouths towards their ears. The results from were conclusive.

“The evidence is strong and knowing that we can somewhat ‘fake it ‘til we make it’, is definitely a reassuring proposal,” adds Dr Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos.

Min An at Pexels

Forcing a smile works on our mood because it spurs a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing the feel-good hormones dopamine and serotonin, according to scientists. The brain seems to not register whether someone is smiling because they are genuinely joyous, or because they are pretending.

Fox at Pexels

A smile is also something that is easy to pass on.  Like yawning, it’s contagious. So what are you waiting for? Smile, and the whole world smiles with you!

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