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Forced Smile

Forced Smile

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Forced smiling is a simple and easy technique to give yourself a quick mood-boost! Forcing yourself to smile can trick your brain into believing you are actually happy and release the corresponding neurotransmitters [1].

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How to Do It

Just smile for 2-3 minutes.

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Momentarily increases feelings of pleasure.

Improves emotional response to stress [2]

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Time Commitment

As long as you can hold the smile.

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Why it works

Forced smiling involves a process called facial feedback. By producing the facial expression of a particular emotion on your face, your brain gets tricked into believing that you are actually experiencing this emotion [2]. A cascade of neurophysiological processes corresponding to that emotion are set in motion.

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Suggested Frequency

  • As often as you can.
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Supporting Studies and Articles

  1. Kraft, T. L., & Pressman, S. D. (2012). Grin and bear it: The influence of manipulated facial expression on the stress response. Psychological Science, 23(11), 1372–1378. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797612445312
  2. Söderkvist, S., Ohlén, K., & Dimberg, U. (2018). How the Experience of Emotion is Modulated by Facial Feedback. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 42(1), 129–151. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10919-017-0264-1
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Side Effects


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Required Equipment


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Suggested Time of Day

Whenever you feel you want to boost your mood.

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  • Increases in pleasure do not persist after 5 minutes [1] .
  • You can also put a pen between your teeth and bite it gently. This will activate the same key muscles that are involved in a genuine smile. 

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 Happiness  Confidence
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