Does your job requires you to smile all the time? Or are you the type of person who are friendly in every way? Although smiling – or the act of being friendly – causes positive interpersonal communication in a subliminal way, too much of it causes damaging effects on ourselves.According to a new study conducted by psychologists from a university in Frankfurt, smiling too much can seriously impact our health negatively.
Research Leader Professor Dieter Zapf stated that a false smile leads to an increased chance of depression, stress, high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems and a damaged immune system.
“Every time a person is forced to repress his true feelings, there are negative consequences for his health,” he said.
The study examined 4,000 people who volunteered to work for two years in a fake call center. They were split into two; the half were required to fake a smile as to please the customers and the other half were allowed to talk back to the customer. The researchers found out that those who were friendly to their harsh customers had a prolonged period of rapid heartbeat – a sign of anxiousness – which extended until the end of the working day. Meanwhile, those who were a bit ‘unfriendly’ and stood up to the harsh customers had a shorter period of rapid heartbeats and thus suffered less.
Prof. Zapf is concerned about the welfare of these workers: “We have to get away from the ‘customer is king’ attitude and show more respect to those working in the service industries,” he said.
He also recommend that professionals required to force a smile, like flight attendants and sales persons, need to take regular breaks to recover from the efforts of smiling.