Fake It Till You Make It? Forcing A “Fake” Smile Can Help You Feel Better

by Apr 30, 2021Mental Health0 comments

Have you been feeling down recently? Everyone says there’s no immediate cure for sadness. You just need to let it flow instead of fighting it. That’s excellent advice, and emotional intelligence does wonders for everyone.

However, it’s not 100% accurate. You can lift your mood quickly (albeit maybe temporarily) in a few seconds.

You don’t believe me, you say?

Well, smile for five seconds. It doesn’t matter if you have to force it, simply do it. How do you feel now?

If you felt a bit better, you might’ve discovered one of the funniest psychology hacks: fake smiles. Why does it happen? Let’s find out.

The science of smiling

Smiling stimulates your endorphin production. [As the British Council explains](https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/famelab-whats-science-behind-smile#:~:text=When our brains feel happy,positive feedback loop of happiness.&text=In short%2C when our brain,smile%2C our brain feels happier.), endorphin production triggers a smile. However, this triggers a feedback loop, as this muscle contraction sends a similar signal to the brain.

This feedback loop keeps our endorphins flowing. As we feel happy, we smile, and these smiles make us feel happier. That’s why you often feel happiness escalating when you’re hanging out and laughing with friends.

Fake smiles: A mood hack?

You could hold a pen between your teeth to “fake” a smile. Your brain doesn’t really know the difference. It stimulates the amygdala, and it triggers the aforementioned feedback loop. You’re merely doing it the other way around.

Our appearance could also improve our mood. For instance, people who underwent Botox treatments often report feeling happier. It also explains why many people like to dress up or change their makeup as a coping mechanism.

You can learn more about the subject with this Verywell Mind article.

What if you know it’s not genuine?

You probably think it won’t work because you already know it’s not true. It’s essentially a placebo, and they don’t work if you’re aware.

Or do they?

Well, I have news for you. Placebos work even when you know what they are. Placebos work when you believe they will. You can still convince yourself that a placebo can work!

Even if it doesn’t work as intended, it’s kind of difficult not to giggle at how funny you look!

The holistic takeaway

When people say “mind over body,” they mean it. Your emotions come from your brain, and that makes it the best weapon against them. If you feel like you can’t continue, just smile!

Even if you don’t feel like it, you don’t lose anything. Try it out right now. Smile for five or ten seconds and check how you feel. If it works, you have a new mood booster for those long days.

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