Researchers have found what we always knew. Smiling is good for you. A smile slows down your heart and reduces stress. These results follows research that proved the act of smiling can make you feel happier.
Other studies indicate even a polite smile may be beneficial.
Frowning also may have a health effect. Preventing people from
frowning, such as with the use of Botox can help alleviate
depression, according to another study.
A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that
people who smiled after engaging in stress-inducing tasks showed a
greater reduction in heart rate than people who maintained a neutral
facial expression. "We saw a steeper decline in heart rate and a
faster physiological stress recovery when they were smiling, even
though the participants were not aware they were making facial
expressions," according to Sarah Pressman, co-author of the study
and an assistant psychology professor at UC Irvine.
Pressman is currently researching how smiling affects certain stress
hormones, such as cortisol, and oxytocin. "We've already seen it
with heart rate; we are hoping to see it with these other stress
levels in the body," she says.