Smiling can make people happier: psychologists

If you're sad, you may want to start smiling more. According to a new study, smiling can make people feel happier.

In a paper written by researcher Heather Lench at Texas A&M University and researchers Nicholas Coles and Jeff Larsen at University of Tennessee, the psychologists looked at almost 50 years of data testing on whether posing facial expressions could lead to feeling the emotions related to those expressions.

"These findings address a critical question about the links between our internal experience and our bodies, whether changing our facial expression can alter the emotions we feel and our emotional response to the world," Lench said.

The researchers combined data from 138 studies and tested over 11,000 people from all over the world.

According to their research, posing facial expressions has a small impact on our feelings. For example, smiling makes people feel happier, scowling makes them feel angrier, and frowning makes them feel more sad.

"We don't think that people can smile their way to happiness, but these findings are exciting because they provide a clue about how the mind and the body interact to shape our conscious experience of emotion," said Coles. "We still have a lot to learn about these facial feedback effects, but this meta-analysis put us a little closer to understanding how emotions work."
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