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.
AdvertisementThe 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," Mukhopadhyay said.
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.