Staying Stylish in Suburbia


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

There are certain things in life that we have to do even though we dread them. Whatever it is, a trip to the dentist, a visit from family or a public speaking engagement. These things can provoke anything from mild apprehension to full on panic. I was talking to one of my best friends about this the other day. I was feeling anxious about an event I had coming up and was wondering how I might calm my fears. She asked if I knew about the permasmile trick. Apparently when she and her husband have something that they have to do that they are less than psyched about, they gear themselves up by practicing their best and brightest "permasmiles."

At first I thought she meant that they went around the event with big fake grins plastered on their faces. Creepy! But it's actually on the car ride over that they make it a point to grin ear to ear. According to her, the act of smiling alone can trick your brain into feeling good, allowing the dread to dissolve so that you actually have a better time at whatever event you have to attend.

I looked into this and apparently it's a real thing called facial feedback hypothesis. The idea being that our facial expressions have an effect on our emotions. So just as a good experience can make you smile, sometimes it's the smile that makes the experience good.

I tried it out and it really did seem to help. Of course what really helps the most is picturing this smile. Wherever I am and whatever I'm doing. This is my real happy place!

What do you think about the idea behind the permasmile? I have to say I'm pretty sold on it now.  Give it a try the next time your have to do something that you dread. Try it out with a friend or your partner. If nothing else their goofy grin is bound to make you giggle.

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  1. I like the idea. And how lucky you are to have that particular smile to rely on too. I am smiling now.