While smiling is a great way of showing that you are open and friendly and above all, a very happy person, a fake smile might cause you more stress than pleasure. A study conducted by a team of researchers at Pennsylvania State University found that those who are forced to smile or feel like they have to put on a smile in order to appease their co-workers are more likely to hit happy hour at their local bar after clocking out.
The team looked at data from about 1,592 service workers that included nurses, teachers, and individuals who work in the food industry. The research found that the more you try and get through your job with a fake persona, the more miserable you might be at the end of the day.
It leads to something the researchers call “emotional exhaustion.” The more exhausted you are, the more likely you will want a drink or a glass of wine to help wind you down after work. It takes a huge toll on a person’s well being.
"Faking and suppressing emotions with customers was related to drinking beyond the stress of the job or feeling negatively," said Alicia Grandey, the head professor of psychology at the institution. "It wasn't just feeling badly that makes them reach for a drink. Instead, the more they have to control negative emotions at work, the less they are able to control their alcohol intake after work."
There have even been previous studies that have linked working in the service industry to excessive alcohol consumption. There are also many people who don’t work in the service industry who feel the need to consume alcohol just to help ease the stress of having to work with difficult or co-workers who aren’t always very flexible or understanding.
"Smiling as part of your job sounds like a really positive thing, but doing it all day can be draining," Grandey concluded. "In these jobs, there's also often money tied to showing positive emotions and holding back negative feelings. Money gives you a motivation to override your natural tendencies, but doing it all day can be wearing."
Now, if you find yourself having to keep a fake smile on your face for several hours a day at the office, it might be time to look for another job. That, or many employment and recruitment experts suggest that you talk to your supervisor or manager about perhaps making a few much-needed changes at work. Take intervals or breaks when needed or talk to your co-workers about perhaps changing the dynamics to help make the office atmosphere a little more manageable and less stressful for everyone.
If that doesn’t work, try stress-relieving exercises to help take the pressure off throughout the day in order to help boost your mental health as well.