HomePositivitySmiling Can Trick Your Brain into Happiness

Smiling Can Trick Your Brain into Happiness


“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes, your smile can be the source of your joy.” – Thich Nhat Hanh


Did you know that this spiritual reflection on human nature by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh is also proven by research?

Heather C. Lunch (Texas A&M University), Nicholas A. Coles and Jeff T. Larsen (University of Tennessee) conducted a meta-analysis of data from 138 studies testing over 11,000 participants from around the world. They found that an individual’s facial expressions can influence them to feel the emotions related to those expressions. That is to say, smiling makes people feel happier, scowling makes them feel angrier, and frowning makes them feel sadder.

“The finds are exciting because they provide a clue about how the mind and the body interact to shape our conscious experience of emotion,” says Coles.

At CARAVAN, Dr. Ellie also explained the neurological ripple effects of smiling for mood and well-being in her class Boost Happiness. Click here to learn more.


PsyArXiv Preprints. A Meta-Analysis of the Facial Feedback Litterature: Effects of Facial Feedback on Emotional Experience Are Small and  Variable. https://psyarxiv.com/svjru/