Fake Happiness Can Bring You Down

A new study into forced smiles reveals they don't always leave you in a happy state of mind. Find out more about how revealing your true emotions benefits your outlook.

By Reader's Digest Editors

Fake smiles aren’t merely unconvincing—they can damage your mental health, says a new study in the Academy of Management Journal.

Researchers studied bus drivers, who have frequent interactions with people, and found that those who flashed forced smiles suffered deteriorated moods and more persistent negative thoughts. They also became withdrawn from the tasks at hand.

But when drivers smiled genuinely, as a result of focusing on pleasant thoughts, their moods improved and their productivity increased.

Women were more affected than men. That may be because women are socialized to be more expressive, and thus hiding emotions causes more strain, said researcher Brent Scott, an assistant professor of management Michigan State University.

Sources: The New York Times, Academy of Management Journal

Want to stay smart and healthy?

Get our weekly Health Reads newsletter

Sending Message
how we use your e-mail

Your Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus