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Health

How to fight stress with a smile?

AXA Research Files #1

A smile, even a fake one, can help reduce your stress levels

In this episode of the AXA Research Files, science presenter Greg Foot travels to the University of Irvine in California to look at new research into whether people who smile more are healthier and happier than those who don’t smile so much.

Greg meets and chats to AXA-supported researchers Sarah Pressman and Enzo Tagliazucchi to find out more.

Surprisingly, Greg discovers that even faking or pretending to smile still sends a message to the brain that will have some of the same physiological benefits as real smiling.

Not only do smilers have a more proactive behavior towards healthcare -they are more likely to seek preventive healthcare-, but all smilers (even fake ones!) will produce more cortisol or catecholamines, anti-stress hormones that have real benefits on the immune system function, cardiovascular system, and can increase the pain threshold.

We talked to Sarah Pressman in more detail about her research. You can find that video here.