Grey skies are gonna clear up, put on a happy face

Just like the famous lyrics suggest, if you put on a happy face you will feel a little brighter, according to a new study published in Nature Human Behaviour.

Led by Stanford University, and conducted with the Florida State University and the University of South Australia, the study found that by posing our facial muscles in a smile we can feel happier.

Working with a team of international collaborators, the study assessed whether people’s subjective experiences of emotion could be influenced by their facial expressions.

Collecting data from 3878 participants across 19 countries, the study found a noticeable increase in happiness from people who mimicked smiling photographs or pulled their mouth toward their ears.

UniSA researcher, Dr Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos says it’s a timely finding as the world heads toward a fourth year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s no doubt that the world’s been struggling amid the current pandemic. While individuals naturally respond differently to adverse situations, it’s encouraging to think that we can sway our emotions by simply putting on a happy face,” Dr Marmolejo-Ramos says.

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