Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Smiling Makes Life Easier - Really!

While doing P90X I noticed that some of the people in the class smile a lot, especially when they are doing tough moves.  This made me wonder whether smiling could make strenuous exercise easier.  I started trying it and it seems to help; it feels as though there is a slight barrier between you and the ache in your abs or wherever.   

A couple of days later I saw an article, “Stress-Busting Smiles,” in the Wall Street Journal that talks about recent research showing that smiling can reduce stress and alleviate depression.  A big, broad grin (“the Duchenne Smile”) seems to do the most good but even a minimal “Pan Am Smile” can be beneficial.  Apparently the inverse is also true.  In one study, a group of 74 patients diagnosed with depression were divided into two groups: one group received Botox injections to prevent them from frowning; the other group were given placebo injections.  Of the Botox group 27% went into remission from their depression, as compared with 7% of the placebo group. 

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