Pretending to Smile Makes You Feel Better, Study Says Fake Smiles With Tears Count, Too

Photo: drbimages (Getty Images)

Any man with the tiniest amount of common sense knows that it’s extremely rude to tell a woman to smile. How this became a thing, we’ll never know. How would you feel if random strangers came up to you and told you to smile for no reason? You wouldn’t like it very much would you? You’d probably just nod and pull out the most pretend smile possible while grumbling under your breath about how they should mind their own damn business. Well, according to a new study, pretending to smile might actually lead to a real smile. Although, it also might lead to a fist fight. But that part isn’t in the research.

The study, from researchers at the University of South Australia, makes a claim that pretending to smile can actually trick your mind into thinking you’re happy. The act of moving your facial muscles to mimic what your face looked like before 2020 began might actually make you happy enough to forget this awful year.

The research was published in Experimental Psychology and consisted of determining the effect of a random smile on other’s perceptions of your happiness as well as simple bodily expressions. For both, the smile was forced and likely looked the way someone who is being held hostage looks when the neighbor stops by to check in. In both scenarios, researchers determined that the simple act of smiling, regardless of the obscene fakeness, created more positive feelings in both the smiler and those viewing said smile.

We’re definitely not encouraging you or anyone you know to go out and tell men, women, or children who look unhappy to smile. That’s ridiculously rude. But we are saying that we’re going to start walking around with a giant fake smile in hopes that it will actually make us feel better about everything going on in the world. Let’s hope we don’t get arrested.

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