Has your boss been asking you to stay late at work, forcing you to lose valuable time with the kids in an effort to shore up that much-needed promotion? While the difficulty of your situation may prompt you to explore all-natural supplements like in an effort to reduce stress and occasional insomnia, a recent study from the University of Kansas suggests that other methods may also be helpful in giving you the chance to relax. Gold
The secret to helping you chill out after a long day? It’s simple – just smile.
“Age old adages, such as ‘grin and bear it’ have suggested smiling to be not only an important nonverbal indicator of happiness but also wishfully promotes smiling as a panacea for life’s stressful events,” said study researcher Tara Kraft.
Kraft and fellow psychological scientist Sarah Pressman recruited over 160 participants from a Midwestern university, reports Science Daily. During the training phase of the study, those taking part were divided into three groups and taught to retain certain facial expressions while holding chopsticks in their mouths. Only half of the group members were told to smile, yet chopsticks helped others smile without realizing it.
Smiles are broken up into two types. Standard smiles use the muscles surrounding the mouth, while genuine smiles actually stimulate the muscles around the eyes and mouth. The latter kind of smile may be responsible for triggering a glow in a person’s face, which in turn conveys a greater sense of happiness.
With the chopsticks in their mouths, participants were asked to engage in stressful activities like submerging a hand in ice water. Researchers determined that smiling during stressful moments reduced the intensity of the body’s response to stress. Even if you’re not happy in the moment, the act itself may help ease the way you handle tension or anxiety, according to the source.
While stress can be the result of a myriad of factors, the American Psychological Association reports that 69 percent of employees find work to be a major source of stress. Equally, one-third of Americans claim that they feel chronically overworked, and 52 percent of employees claimed that work interfered with their family life.
If you feel that the balance between work and home life is skewed heavily in favor of one or the other, you may want to consider consulting with a healthcare professional or therapist to determine new ways you can improve your quality of life.