By fuckingcool - 06/06/2016 04:56

Today, my mother once again brought up how I would have done so much better in my Track season if I just smiled while I ran. Apparently, if you just smile, your brain won't know you're in pain. I don't think it works like that, but thanks for the advice mom. FML
I agree, your life sucks 13 643
You deserved it 1 038

Same thing different taste

Top comments

I feel that strategy only works when you're on ecstasy.

Oh, I've actually heard this. One of those stupid myths. Tell her that the most successful running advice is to listen to your body and to stop when you're in pain.


Such helpful advivce! Always revere your elders..

splinteredApple 36

I'll think about that the next time I pull my leg out when I long jump. Or I face plant when my legs go numb while running.

why is this lovely sarcasm being downvoted?

Oh, I've actually heard this. One of those stupid myths. Tell her that the most successful running advice is to listen to your body and to stop when you're in pain.

Not a myth but wrong context - smiling makes your brain think it should be happy and release small amounts of endorphins and lowers cortisol, reducing stress. This won't benefit track but it has been proven to improve your mood.

I feel that strategy only works when you're on ecstasy.

CliffyB03 28

Fun fact: you can think yourself sick but you can't think yourself healed

Except that there are studies that show your body is better at combatting viruses etc. when it thinks you're getting medicated. Also placebo effect. Not sure to what extent it helps, but it helps.

bfsd42 20

While that may not work, it would definitely give you a psychological advantage when the other runners see you smile and think you are crazy because you're enjoying it too much. Also try doing a war dance before every race.

Your brain works wonders..but I don't think that is how that works...

hellobobismyname 24

Nothing related to typical "mind over matter" advice actually works for anything physical (imo). I was very sick at work one time (to the point of almost passing out) and someone told me to just be positive and it will make me not feel sick anymore. I wanted to punch them at that moment. No amount of smiling or positive thinking will make you healed or forget you're in pain.

If you're talking about actual illness, it doesn't work because it's out of your control. It's bad to overexert yourself, but if you are mentally strong enough you can probably push yourself way past your perceived breaking point for physical endurance.

Not sure about smiling, but 'positive thinking' can help with pain - sort of. Placebo effect is a powerful thing, and still nobody quite knows how it works. It can even work when patients KNOW they're given a placebo (although the effects are reduced). Still, I don't think everybody is automatically susceptible to placebo, so if you think it can't/won't help you you may well be right.

Sounds like something The Joker would say.

polsen4273 8

Technically speaking, it does kinda work like that. Science has found that simply making a face such as by making yourself smile or frown will affect your mood. It also will make you understand what someone is thinking better if you immitate their face. The brain is a very strange, poorly understood organ.

It affects my mood by making me feel worse if I have to force a smile. Embracing the mood tends to make it go away quicker for me. If I'm sad, I might cry and listen to sad music. If I'm angry, I listen to more metal music. Trying to listen to happy music when in a different mood tends to worsen it and makes me just not want to listen to anything

I was about to say something similar, #8. It's the combination of the placebo effect and your natural/conditioned response (think Pavlov's dogs). Because humans smile when they're happy, smiling is supposed to make you happier. Also, I think you got mixed up on that last part. Mimicking the facial expressions of your partner in conversation is an indication of how stimulating the conversation is for both parties. I don't know if you can use this to manipulate the situation, but you can use it to assess how invested your companion is in what you're saying. (If you cross your arms, then they cross theirs, etc., they are truly interested)

polsen4273 8

I didnt get the second part mixed up but what you said sounds totally true as well. The factors there's no point in trying to describe these effects as " placebo" or " Pavlov" because the fact is we simply don't understand how it works. The most we can say is that your mind and body are connected in ways don't understand.

#8 and #13, you are both correct. There was an interesting study that had participants watch a series of 'neutral' images (neither happy nor sad). One group was told to smile as they watched the slideshow, the other group wasn't given any specific instruction. Afterwards they got both groups to report their mood/level of happiness and the 'smiley' group had higher levels of happiness. That being said, there are studies in Japan showing that when people have to smile all day long even when they're actually NOT happy at all, it can lead to serious emotional issues (I think there's actually a name for this disorder... Smile Mask Syndrome?). So I think smiling might make an otherwise neutral or happy person happier, but if you're actually upset/hurt/angry/sad and you are forced to smile, it can make things worse. Similar studies have found that when people with low self-esteem or depression try to 'think positively' (e.g. that advice we all got in school to go in front of a mirror every morning and say 'I am beautiful!') - it actually makes them feel worse (but it DOES make people who have 'normal' or high self-esteem feel better!). I think it has to do with not actually being able to believe what you're saying/thinking/doing. Placebo effect can work if the circumstances or your mental state allows you to believe it, but if you are actually NOT able to trick yourself into feeling better, trying to/forcing yourself to can make things worse. Hope that makes sense.