Fake Smiling At Work Makes You MORE Likely To Be A Heavy Drinker

The struggle is real

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Do you work in a field where you’re constantly having to fake positivity and force a smile for the customers and people around you?


Well, we’ve got some bad news for you… according to new research, if you work in a job where you’re constantly having to fake a smile, then you’re more likely to end up as a heavy drinker. 


The University of Buffalo and Penn State study, published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, revealed that those who have to be actively pleasant to others while working are more likely to drink heavily, especially those who work with the public (customer service, teaching, retail, hospitality, etc.). 

The drinking habits of over 1,500 people who work in public/customer service roles were studied, revealing that when workers are forced to hide their emotions and put on a facade of positivity, it is exhausting to the point that they are often driven to drink more than those who don’t work in public sectors.


The study concluded that “emotional labor with customers—effortfully amplifying, faking, and suppressing emotional expressions… predicts alcohol consumption.”

Alicia Grandey, a professor of psychology at Penn State involved in the study, explained:

"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."

The study was responsible for helping to find a link between heavy drinking and service work. 

"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."


So, if your friend works in an industry like this, maybe check in with them so they can talk about all the emotions they’re bottling up!


If you are concerned about your own wellbeing, are experiencing alcohol or drug addiction, or are concerned about someone else, contact the Alcohol and Drug Foundation at www.druginfo.adf.org.au.


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Hayley Mitchelhill-Miller

10 May 2019

Article by:

Hayley Mitchelhill-Miller

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