Enforced smiling in the workplace puts health at risk

Smiling too much at work can seriously damage your health, German scientists have claimed.

Researchers at a university in Germany – where the right to be surly is almost a national pastime – now claim enforced jolliness on the job is much more likely to make people fall ill.

Researchers said ‘professional smilers’, such as flight attendants, sales personnel, call centre operators, waiters, and others in contact with the public for extended periods of time, were at risk of seriously harming their health.

Speaking at the end of the two-year study, Professor Dieter Zapf, a researcher into human emotions who led psychologists at Frankfurt University, said that fake friendliness led to depression, stress, and a lowering of the immune system.

This in turn can trigger more serious ailments, such as high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems, he claimed.

“Every time a person is forced to repress his true feelings, there are negative consequences for his health,” Zapf added.

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