We’re talking authentic happiness…so keep it real!

We’re talking authentic happiness…so keep it real!

Happiness; smiling, laughing, joy. 

You've probably all heard that you can "fake it until you make it" but here at The Happiness Institute we believe you'll enjoy far more enduring positive emotions if you keep it real and run with genuine, authentic emotions of all kinds. 

Not that long ago, we came across this interesting article from, of all places, Forbes magazine, in which it was suggested that faking is not just unhelpful but that it might actually make things worse! Check this sample out…

Common wisdom has been telling us for years that “fake it till you make it” is sound advice for just about any problem–career-related, money-related, love-related or otherwise. But a new study published today in the Telegraph turns this idea on its head.

Turns out, according to new research found in the February issue of the Academy of Management Journal, when it comes to your happiness, faking it–fake smiling, that is–can actually make you more miserable, particularly in the workplace.

“We smile when we’re happy, but the act of smiling has likewise been shown to improve happiness,” I wrote in post on February 14th of this year titled How To Snap Yourself Out Of A Bad Mood. This tip came from Simon Rego, PsyD., director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center, and it’s likely he’s just as confused as I am today by this new research.

Psychologist Dr Brent Scott studied a group of bus drivers over a two week period who were asked to smile when dealing with the public. According to the Telegraph, “His team examined the effects of surface acting – or fake smiling – compared to what was termed ‘deep acting’, or cultivating positive emotions by recalling pleasant memories.”

What Scott found was that “surface acting,” a basic fake smile had a negative effect on the subject’s mood. While “deep acting,” (or putting a smile on your face that is drawn from a happy memory, say, rather than simply the action of a smile) did in fact improve the subject’s mood in the short term (vindication for me and Rego for our bad mood advice!), it was not successful in the long term. “There have been some suggestions that if you do this over a long period you start to feel inauthentic,” Scott said.

When investing in your worker’s happiness, this is the bottom line: “Smiling for the sake of smiling can lead to emotional exhaustion and withdrawal, and that’s bad for the organization.”

Now you can read the full and original article HERE but our question to you today is…

…do you agree with this?

Many people wholeheartedly subscribe to this philosophy and I've no doubt it almost certainly works in some situations. So share your thoughts with us, as always on our Facebook Page, and let's see what the general concensus is!