A German psychologist has warned "professional smilers" such as flight attendants and shop assistants that too much forced smiling can cause stress, depression and even heart problems. It's unlikely to become a major health issue though -- German customer service isn't renowned for its friendliness.
The stress caused by having to flash one's teeth at customers can lead to depression, high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems, Professor Dieter Zapf of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt told Apotheken Umschau, a healthcare magazine handed out free at pharmacies in Germany. Zapf's findings are based on research conducted by the university.
Zapf recommends that "professional smilers" take regular breaks to relax, rid themselves of aggression and recuperate from the effort of smiling.
The advice may appear redundant given that smiling doesn't come naturally to many staff in the German service sector. The city of Berlin tried to address the problem ahead of the 2006 football World Cup in Germany when it launched a campaign