University of South Australia: When you’re smiling, the whole world really does smile with you

17 Aug

Medical News Today described health in What is good health?

Fast facts on health
Here are some key points about health. More detail is in the main article.
• Health can be defined as physical, mental, and social wellbeing, and as a resource for living a full life.
• It refers not only to the absence of disease, but the ability to recover and bounce back from illness and other problems.
• Factors for good health include genetics, the environment, relationships, and education.
• A healthful diet, exercise, screening for diseases, and coping strategies can all enhance a person’s health….

Mental health is not only the absence of depression, anxiety, or another disorder.
It also depends on the ability to:
• enjoy life
• bounce back after difficult experiences
• achieve balance
• adapt to adversity
• feel safe and secure
• achieve your potential
Physical and mental health are linked. If chronic illness affects a person’s ability to complete their regular tasks, this may lead to depression and stress, for example, due to money problems…. 

ttps://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/150999#types

Mindfulness is a possible technique for coping with stress.

Psychology Today defined mindfulness in What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention to the present. This state encompasses observing one’s thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad.
To live mindfully is to live in the moment and reawaken oneself to the present, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future. Mindfulness can also be a healthy way to identify and manage latent emotions that are causing problems in personal or professional relationships.
Mindfulness is frequently used in meditation and certain kinds of therapy. It has many positive benefits, including lowering stress levels, reducing harmful ruminating, and protecting against depression and anxiety. Research even suggests that mindfulness can help people better cope with rejection and social isolation…. 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/mindfulness

Mindfulness can help individuals become more resilient in difficult situations. Tamara A. Russell and Gerson Siegmund wrote in What and who? Mindfulness in the mental health setting
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5353507/

Science Daily reported in When you’re smiling, the whole world really does smile with you:

From Sinatra to Katy Perry, celebrities have long sung about the power of a smile — how it picks you up, changes your outlook, and generally makes you feel better. But is it all smoke and mirrors, or is there a scientific backing to the claim?

Groundbreaking research from the University of South Australia confirms that the act of smiling can trick your mind into being more positive, simply by moving your facial muscles.

With the world in crisis amid COVID-19, and alarming rises of anxiety and depression in Australia and around the world, the findings could not be more timely.

The study, published in Experimental Psychology, evaluated the impact of a covert smile on perception of face and body expressions. In both scenarios, a smile was induced by participants holding a pen between their teeth, forcing their facial muscles to replicate the movement of a smile.

The research found that facial muscular activity not only alters the recognition of facial expressions but also body expressions, with both generating more positive emotions.

Lead researcher and human and artificial cognition expert, UniSA’s Dr Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos says the finding has important insights for mental health.

“When your muscles say you’re happy, you’re more likely to see the world around you in a positive way,” Dr Marmolejo-Ramos says.

“In our research we found that when you forcefully practise smiling, it stimulates the amygdala — the emotional centre of the brain — which releases neurotransmitters to encourage an emotionally positive state.

“For mental health, this has interesting implications. If we can trick the brain into perceiving stimuli as ‘happy’, then we can potentially use this mechanism to help boost mental health….”

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200813123608.htm

Citation:

When you’re smiling, the whole world really does smile with you

Date:       August 13, 2020

Source:   University of South Australia

Summary:

From Sinatra to Katy Perry, celebrities have long sung about the power of a smile — how it picks you up, changes your outlook, and generally makes you feel better. But is it all smoke and mirrors, or is there a scientific backing to the claim? Groundbreaking research confirms that the act of smiling can trick your mind into being more positive, simply by moving your facial muscles.

Journal Reference:

Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos, Aiko Murata, Kyoshiro Sasaki, Yuki Yamada, Ayumi Ikeda, José A. Hinojosa, Katsumi Watanabe, Michal Parzuchowski, Carlos Tirado, Raydonal Ospina. Your Face and Moves Seem Happier When I SmileExperimental Psychology, 2020; 67 (1): 14 DOI: 10.1027/1618-3169/a000470

Here is the press release from the University of South Australia:

NEWS RELEASE 

When you’re smiling, the whole world really does smile with you

New insights for mental health

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA

From Sinatra to Katy Perry, celebrities have long sung about the power of a smile – how it picks you up, changes your outlook, and generally makes you feel better. But is it all smoke and mirrors, or is there a scientific backing to the claim?

Groundbreaking research from the University of South Australia confirms that the act of smiling can trick your mind into being more positive, simply by moving your facial muscles.

With the world in crisis amid COVID-19, and alarming rises of anxiety and depression in Australia and around the world, the findings could not be more timely.

The study, published in Experimental Psychology, evaluated the impact of a covert smile on perception of face and body expressions. In both scenarios, a smile was induced by participants holding a pen between their teeth, forcing their facial muscles to replicate the movement of a smile.

The research found that facial muscular activity not only alters the recognition of facial expressions but also body expressions, with both generating more positive emotions.

Lead researcher and human and artificial cognition expert, UniSA’s Dr Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos says the finding has important insights for mental health.

“When your muscles say you’re happy, you’re more likely to see the world around you in a positive way,” Dr Marmolejo-Ramos says.

“In our research we found that when you forcefully practise smiling, it stimulates the amygdala – the emotional centre of the brain – which releases neurotransmitters to encourage an emotionally positive state.

“For mental health, this has interesting implications. If we can trick the brain into perceiving stimuli as ‘happy’, then we can potentially use this mechanism to help boost mental health.”

The study replicated findings from the ‘covert’ smile experiment by evaluating how people interpret a range of facial expressions (spanning frowns to smiles) using the pen-in-teeth mechanism; it then extended this using point-light motion images (spanning sad walking videos to happy walking videos) as the visual stimuli.

Dr Marmolejo-Ramos says there is a strong link between action and perception.

“In a nutshell, perceptual and motor systems are intertwined when we emotionally process stimuli,” Dr Marmolejo-Ramos says.

“A ‘fake it ’til you make it’ approach could have more credit than we expect.”

###

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1-2 second video of point-light biological walking stimuli and emotional faces stimuli is available here: https://figshare.com/articles/media/stimuli/10269815

Media contact: Annabel Mansfield office: +61 8 8302 0351 mobile: +61 417 717 504
email: Annabel.Mansfield@unisa.edu.au

Researcher: Dr Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos office: +61 8 8302 9311
email: Fernando.Marmolejo-Ramos@unisa.edu.au@unisa.edu.au

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.
Helen Keller

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