Fake smiling may lead you to drinking, study says

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new Penn State and University of Buffalo study suggests employees who force themselves to smile at work are more likely to drink heavily when they get off.

According to News4SanAntonio, researchers studied the drinking habits of 1,592 people who work in public-facing jobs and are generally expected to appear cheery — food service workers, for example.

“Faking and suppressing emotions with customers was related to drinking beyond the stress of the job or feeling negatively,” said Alicia Grandley, professor of psychology at Penn State. “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.”

According to Grandley, previous research suggested a connection between service workers and alcoholism, but the reason was never known.

“Smiling as part of your job sounds like a really positive thing, but doing it all day can be draining. 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.”

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