Scientific evidence is mounting: there are simple habits and easy actions you can take to reduce bone-damaging stress and negativity. Further confirming this, a groundbreaking study has compared the results of 50 years of research on the relationship between facial expressions and emotional experience.
Today, we’ll use the results of that study to explain the science of smiling so you’ll be able to put it into practice to benefit your bone health and overall health.
Major Review Study Clarifies The Science Of Smiling
A just-published article in the journal Psychological Bulletin evaluated the cumulative evidence on whether an individual’s emotion can be influenced by feedback from their facial movements. Essentially, the researchers questioned if smiling can increase happiness.
The authors compared the results of 138 studies conducted over the past 50 years to get the most definitive answer to-date on this often-debated topic.
Their findings are astonishing, as they conclude the following:
“The available evidence supports the facial feedback hypothesis’ central claim that facial feedback influences emotional experience.”1
While the authors noted that the emotional impact of a smile isn’t enough to cure clinical depression or create a long-term shift in a person’s emotional state, they did find that for many people it can shift their mood and the way they perceive and engage with the world around them .1
With combined results from more than 11,000 participants, this study has provided the best proof yet that smiling reduces stress. This has important implications for bone health, because stress, especially over long periods, increases cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is acidifying, causes inflammation, and impedes the bone remodeling process.2 Since smiling improves your mood and reduces stress, it also protects your bones.
A meta-analysis of 138 studies on the ability of facial expressions to influence mood has found that we can change how we feel by changing the expression on our face. Smiling provides a boost of positive feelings that help to reduce stress and thereby protect our bones.
Putting Theory Into Practice
This study’s result was remarkably clear, but there is more to their findings you need to know if you’re going to use them effectively.
First, the act of smiling can make you feel happier, but it isn’t as effective in the presence of emotionally charged stimuli.1 That means that using a smile to decrease stress or negativity is most effective if you first remove any stimuli that are influencing your emotions. So take a break from whatever you’re doing and make some space to consciously use a smile to lift your spirits from the outside in.
Secondly, the authors found that this strategy is most effective as a temporary boost.1 One smile when you wake up isn’t going to do the trick for your whole day, but you can deploy this tactic strategically, again and again, to work your way out of a bad mood, to find relief in a stressful situation, or as a pick-me-up if you start feeling down.
Finally, smiling isn’t the only expression that can change your mood. Frowning, scowling, or other negative expressions have a negative impact on your emotions.1 Be aware of how the look on your face might be feeding into your emotional experience.
We all have natural responses to news and experiences, but don’t let a momentary response turn into a sustained expression of anger, sadness, or dissatisfaction– it magnifies and extends those negative feelings.
You can combine these strategies with other healthy and natural mood-boosters that work in combination to keep you feeling positive and uplifted.
A smile is most effective as a boost to your mood, deployed as needed throughout the day, and most effective in the absence of other emotional stimuli.
High Life Satisfaction Linked To Reduced Bone Loss
Happiness has real ramifications for your bone health. A 10-year study of more than 2,100 women between the ages of 60 and 70 found that those who reported high life-satisfaction had the lowest rates of bone loss.3
To determine this, researchers measured the participants’ femoral bone density and conducted a life-satisfaction test in 1999 and again in 2009. The difference in bone loss over those ten years between the participants who reported the lowest and highest life satisfaction was up to 52%.3
Those who increased their life satisfaction over the ten years experienced reduced bone loss, even if they were initially dissatisfied. Conversely, the study authors reported that participants whose life-satisfaction decreased over the 10 years experienced 85% more bone loss than those whose satisfaction had increased.3
This is further proof that your emotional state has a direct correlation to your bone health, and underscores the importance of strategies such as using facial expression to improve mood.
Researchers found that consistent high-life satisfaction correlates to reduced levels of bone loss in older women and that an increase in life-satisfaction over time also reduces bone loss.
Health Risks Of High Stress
Bone loss isn’t the only reason to reduce stress levels. Here are some other negative health effects of high stress and pessimism:
- Sugar cravings4
- Weight gain5
- Hair loss
- Coronary heart disease6
- High blood pressure7
Take Action To Improve Your Mood And Protect Your Bones
Use a moment of intentional smiling as a shield to protect yourself from the harmful side effects of stress, and to improve your mood.
Both of those results will improve your well-being and help you to prevent or reverse osteoporosis by supporting optimal bone health.
Stop Worrying About Your Bone Loss
Join thousands of Savers from around the world who have reversed or prevented their bone loss naturally and scientifically with the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.