Why Fake Smiling Is a Bad Idea

Trying to mask unhappiness might make you unhappier, study says

By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 8, 2014 10:44 AM CDT | Updated Aug 8, 2014 11:04 AM CDT

(Newser) – If you're subscribing to the old adage of "grin and bear it" to mask negative emotions, you're not doing yourself any favors—we're simply not that easily fooled. Researchers say that over time, fake smiling can actually cause people to associate smiling with feeling unhappy, and that people should instead perhaps forgo a smile until whatever negative emotion they're feeling is resolved, reports Live Science. "Smiling by itself does not increase happiness or well-being," one of the researchers writes in the Daily Mail.

For the study, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, researchers conducted three experiments in which they asked people a range of questions, including how happy they are with their lives, how much they smiled that day, whether they thought people more often smile to feel good or to try to feel good, and in which scenarios they recall smiling from happiness. They concluded that those who smile when happy often feel better as a result, while those who smile when they're not happy often feel worse. (Meanwhile, check out five stars whose perfect smiles are fake.)

Fake smiles probably won't make you happy.
Fake smiles probably won't make you happy.   (Shutterstock)
Julia Roberts arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
Julia Roberts arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP)
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