The Emotional Toll of a Forced Smile

forced smile

The benefits of having a healthy smile and making a habit of smiling at yourself and others have been discussed in previous blog articles. Prescott Dentistry prides itself in helping our patients keep up with their oral hygiene to allow them to wear their smiles with pride. However, we wouldn’t want to force our patients to smile when they aren’t feeling it, which is good according to a recent review. The “service with a smile” that is required by many companies in the food and service industries, while often effective at achieving a positive experience for customers, can do quite the opposite for employees.

Previous studies have shown that smiles do indeed lead to greater tips, customer retention, and overall customer satisfaction. But the most recent study out of Purdue University concluded that these forced smiles have unintended consequences. The added “emotional labor” associated with suppressing your true emotions and putting on a fake smile is said to be unfair and unethical to employees. This false emotional display is taxing, requires muscle exertion, energy, self-management and is detrimental to the employee’s ability to focus on the task at hand.

These effects are especially pronounced with personality types who are not outgoing and upbeat. The suppression of feelings creates a sense of dissonance and tension. This isn’t good for the business nor the worker, as this uncomfortable dissonance and stress will eventually lead to burnout and job dissatisfaction. The study suggested that an authentically positive workforce is a great ideal to strive for, but instead of forcing your employees to show a certain emotion, businesses should foster an environment that their workers can truly have a positive attitude in.

At Prescott Dentistry we aren’t faking our smiles! We’re sure you won’t be either, knowing your teeth are looking and feeling great after your dental visit. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and enjoy a genuinely positive environment!

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (9/21/2015) Andrew Stawarz (Flickr)