Smile damnit I used to teach humor and wellness workshops and, in good faith, told participants that smiling could positively affect their body chemistry, prolong their lives and even ward off disease. For the most part I was right: Heartfelt smiles improve your quality of life, but a recent study has better clarified things for me:

Secret to a long life – get even more often

According to the findings those folks who are in occupations that force them to fake being polite actually endure life-shortening stress. Interestingly enough, the research was conducted at a German University, where being humorlessness is pretty much elevated to an art form, concluded that “enforced jolliness on the job is much more likely to make people fall ill.” The study tested 4000 students working in an imaginary call center and repeatedly harassed by fake clients. One group was allowed to mouth off while the others had to eat crow and move on. Those that swallowed their feelings had higher heart rates and more physical discomfort for considerably longer than those who less subtly suggested hiding places for the customer’s phone receiver.

This sounds like a great premise for a Japanese reality show: You harass service personnel until they either jump in front of a Shinkansen or get assertive and move to America to work for the Post Office or Airport Security (TSA). The Cannot-o-nese, unlike their island bound descendants, know how to say “no,”feel absolutely no anxiety about even stopping CPR to begin a scheduled break and are all well schooled in how to actually fly, like Crouching Tigers or Hidden Dragons, over dozens of tourists and plant themselves in the front seat of a taxi before a waiting foreigner can even open the door. And when THEY smile, it is genuine…. toothless man

Lonnie Hodge @ OMBW

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