Professor Pete Alexander

Stress Relief Tool – Smiling & Sunglasses

Learn how smiling can be a powerful stress relief tool.

“Smile! It increases your face value.”
– Truvy Jones (Dolly Parton) from Steel Magnolias (1989).

I love that quote because it’s so true – think about when you see someone smiling, you wonder what they are smiling at because you don’t want to miss out and smile too! OK, not everyone wants to smile, as I have encountered many curmudgeons who prefer to remain miserable, but the vast majority of people I have interacted with enjoy smiling. I’ve tested this walking down the street thinking about something funny, with a smile on my face, and the majority of strangers I make eye contact with smile back.

When you frown, your brain thinks “Oh, I must not be feeling positive emotions.” Whereas when it notices you flexing those muscles upward on the side of the mouth it thinks, “I must be smiling. Oh, we must be happy.”1 And you don’t even have to be happy to get the benefit – just hold that smile for 60 seconds and notice yourself feeling better.

You know what is even more amazing? Research shows smiling gives the brain as much pleasure as 2,000 bars of chocolate, or $25,000.2 Now, that’s a lot of chocolate and a lot of money. Smiling comes calorie and tax free though.

And if you find yourself smiling outdoors in the daylight, maximize the benefits of smiling by putting on sunglasses. When you squint, that tells your brain that you are worried. So smiling and sunglasses makes for a powerful stress relief combo.

Please note that there is no guarantee a particular stress relief tool will work for you. Thus you must take complete responsibility for using them and for your own physical and emotional wellbeing. Further, Professor Pete Alexander is not a licensed health professional. Please consult qualified health practitioners regarding your use of any stress relief technique. Medical advice must only be obtained from a physician or qualified health practitioner.

  1. Time Magazine – The 5 Habits That Will Make You Happy, According To Science
  2. Ron Gutman – Smile: The Astonishing Powers Of A Simple Act

Posted by Professor Pete Alexander

A seasoned professional with over 35 years of Sales, Marketing, Educational and Entrepreneurial experience, Pete has battled the negative effects of stress head-on and has developed the LIGHTEN™ stress relief model that motivates his peers to better protect their health and handle challenging situations with grace and success.


Makes complete sense and a whole lot of savings, as well as a healthier choice. That squint movement is tied to the worry factor. Thank you for this Professor Pete!

Professor Pete Alexander

You are very welcome Paula – glad you liked this stress relief tool!

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