Michael Poh writes on the blog HONGKIET:

When we smile, there are some biological processes that somehow trick our brain into thinking we’re happy.

That being happy can make one smile is obvious. Is it also well established that smiling can make one happy?

2 Answers 2


Yes, as we all know, smiling releases "feel-good" chemicals.

The feel good neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are all released when a smile flashes across your face as well. This not only relaxes your body, but it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure.


However, since the 70's, experiments involving forcing subjects to smile and measuring the results have shown us that just the stimulation of the muscles used to smile causes this effect.

“The researchers say their findings suggest smiling during brief periods of stress may help reduce the body's stress response, regardless of whether the person actually feels happy or not.”


As such, even a faked smile can make you happier.



This is an experiment that you can try for yourself with a group of people.


  • 1
    -1: this answer is based only on anecdotal evidence (which, anyway, does not show that smiling makes you happy) and two quite obscure papers which, again, don't give any empirical evidence to this... I would suggest a bit more research, you may come out with some more relevant papers such as: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25139308 where the pen experiment is done in an fMRI machine (with all the caveats that this implies) albeit with quite a small sample size... Again, I would argue that paper doesn't definitely prove smiling makes you happy, but it's better than those you cite.
    – nico
    May 8, 2015 at 6:50

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