When a person is sad, don't tell them cheer up or don't
worry. A new research has found that trying to make somebody smile when they
are miserable could actually make them feel worse.
The study explains, if people force themselves to grin when
they are in a bad mood then their brain starts to relate it with sadness
instead of joy and next time when they would smile it could bring back
miserable memories instead of lifting the bad mood.
The interesting study was carried out by Anirban
Mukhopadhyay, an associate professor of marketing at Hong Kong University
Science and Technology.
Hesaid one should wait until your
unhappiness lifts before attempting a grin.
"Making people, who are feeling bad, smile could backfire
and make them feel worse, because they may interpret smiling as trying to
become happy. Smiling frequently would remind them of being not happy,"
The research team carried out three experiments. In the
first, 108 participants completed a survey inquiring how often they smiled and
whether they felt good about themselves. They also reported how happy they were
with their lives in general.
In the second experiment, 63 participants were shown funny
pictures and were inquired if they thought they were amusing. In the third, 85
participants were asked to list situations when they felt happy and about their
overall life satisfaction. They were also asked to do facial exercises to put
their faces in a smile like position.
The study results revealed that if you are faking a smile
then it won't make you happy and that you are just using it to 'mask' your
inner sadness. The professor said that smiling by itself does not increase
happiness, or wellbeing.
He added that one must already be happy when one smiles is
what increases happiness, and as a result, wellbeing. Professor further said
that people who are naturally smiley people should carry on grinning - as it
will still make them happy.