A study conducted by Stanford University, Florida State University, and the University of South Australia has found that posing our facial muscles in a smile can make us feel happier. The study has been published in Nature Human Behavior.
The study collected data from a total of 3878 participants across 19 countries, with the researchers assessing whether people's subjective experience of emotion could be influenced by their facial expressions. Three well-known techniques were used as part of the study, including: mimicking facial expressions of actors seen in photos; moving the corners of their mouths to their cheeks using only their facial muscles, and using the 'pen-in-mouth' technique. This technique moves facial muscles in a simulated smile shape.
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After assessing the data, the researchers found that there was a notable increase in happiness in individuals who pulled their mouth towards their ears (basically mimicking a smile), and those who mimicked smiling photographs.
UniSA researcher, Dr Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos stated: "Two out of three of these conditions generated noticeable increases in happiness, providing a compelling argument that human emotions are linked to muscle movements".
Overall, the data from the research suggests that smiling could make you happier. So there you have it, yet another reason to smile more!