The smiles, even forced, to make you feel better


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The optimism is out of fashion. Abound self-help books that defend the value of the positive and advocating for putting on a good face to the bad weather, many times without being reminded of the importance of the sadness, or other emotions usually seen as negative, because they produce pain. Given that these emotions also play a role, for some psychologists, such as Susan David, that imposition of the positive is a great way to not get to feel happy.

Now, a research has proposed a new way to call the optimism and see things in a positive way: to force the smile. A study published this week in the journal “Experimental Psychology” has shown that holding a pencil with your teeth and stretch the face into a smile takes the mind to evaluate in a more positive way the gestures and movements of other people.

“When your muscles say you’re happy,” he said in a press release Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos, first author of the work— you have more tendency to see the world around you in a positive way”.

In particular, the researchers have concluded that the muscle activity of the face alters the activity of to recognize facial expressions and body movements of others, and leads to that they are evaluated more positively.

Schema that shows how they held the pen, the participants in the study – Daniela Álvarez, 2020

Believe that this has implicacioens important for mental health, especially now, at a time of the pandemic and the economic crisis are fuelling cases of anxiety and depression.

“We have discovered that when you practice the smiles forced this stimulates the amygdala —one of the centers of emotions in the brain— by releasing neurotransmitters that promote a positive emotional state,” added Marmolejo-Ramos.

For that reason, scientists have commented that they believe that the smiles can be used to “enhance mental health “.

To reach these conclusions, the authors asked participants to rate how happy they were the images, while holding a pen between their teeth, and supported on the corners of his lips. In this way, they were presented with images ranging from a frown to a smile, and of people walking from way depressed or happy.

“In summary, the sensory and motor systems are intertwined at the time of processing the stimuli emotionally,” said Marmolejo-Ramos. That’s why, “the approach of “pretend until you consiguas” —an aphorism in English according to which to display confidence, competence, and optimism are reaching those virtues— may be more certain of what we expected.”

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