The famous American social scientist, Robert Zajonc [ZYE-unts], explored the interplay between feeling and thought–between emotion and cognition.
He was interested in determining which influenced the other more strongly. On balance, he came down on the side of emotion.
In one widely reported study, he found that smiling or frowning can alter blood flow to the brain as facial muscles relax or contract.
This, in turn, affects the parts of the brain that regulate feelings–helping induce happy or sad emotional states.
Could smiling help speakers with performance anxiety? Apparently so!
The Buddha is depicted most often with a slight smile on his face–and he had true inner peace. Little Orphan Annie knew “You’re never fully dressed without a smile,” and now we have the work of a renowned scientist to confirm the fact–on balance, it’s better for us when we smile.
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