Aleteia

Why smiling is a great way to manage anxiety

SMILE
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So many things can crowd out joy and peace, but this exercise can make the difference!

A smile is a non-verbal indicator of happiness. It can lower the levels of anxiety and has a positive effect on majority of people. There are two kinds of smile: the “polite smile” that activates the muscles around the mouth, and the “authentic” smile involving the muscles around the mouth and the eyes at the same time.

The second kind of smile has a great influence on our mood. Apparently both smiling and laughing reduce the levels of cortisol, a hormone our body produces whenever we feel stressed. As we have all experienced at one point in time, it’s hard to manifest hostility toward someone who is smiling. In fact, a smile sends back a positive image and decreases the levels of fear and aggression. This is something we can all use when dealing with other people — at home and at work. 

It’s no accident that sales clerks are encouraged to smile. It lowers people’s defensiveness and hostility and makes them more receptive. It works whether you’re at work or at home with your family.  

Marie-Noël Florant