Forcing a smile linked with heavier drinking… grieving people not surprised

A new study out of Penn State and the NIH shows that fake smiling – aka: pretending you don’t feel what you feel – contributes to higher incidences of alcohol consumption and interpersonal challenges.

From the article:

Researchers at Penn State and the University of Buffalo studied the drinking habits of those who routinely work with the public, like nurses, teachers or those in food service. They found a link between heavier drinking and regularly faking or suppressing emotions for customers.

Like resisting the urge to roll your eyes.

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

While the study focuses on those who work directly with the public (servers, retail folks, nurses, etc), this study has wide applications with grief if we connect the dots.

Lying about your emotional state – because it’s what the public expects and tolerates – doesn’t make anyone feel better. It just drives that pain to express itself in other ways.

Click here to read the article at ABC Action News.

We’ve got science on our side in the #GriefRevolution, friends.

Hiding what hurts doesn’t work.

We’ve had decades of trying that method. It’s time for something new.

How about you? How does pretending to smile impact your grief? What do you notice if you have to suppress your actual emotions? Let us know in the comments.

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