Smiling can be hard. It takes a few muscles and often happens naturally, but nevertheless…it can be hard. Especially when you’re having one of those days. You know, the Dark ones. The ones when getting out of bed is hard, and smiling feels like trying to fly into the sun.
The Benefits of Smiling:
But smiling is good for you, especially when you don’t feel it. And yes, there are a host of psychological and physical reasons to prove this:
- The act of smiling automatically relieves stress and tension. You don’t even have to emotionally feel the smile, just do it. Awesome, right? (Huffington Post)
- When we smile, we remember good times. We harken back to the memories we love, the times we were happy. (Huffington Post)
- Smiles help improve your mood. (Huffington Post)
- Smiles spread. One smile prompts another smile. It’s contagious. (Huffington Post)
- Smiles improve production and creativity. So that whistling while you work thing? The dwarves totally knew what they were doing. (Huffington Post)
Smiling is truly magical. We can’t really explain it, but we try (Association for Psychological Science):
- The Duchenne smile is considered a true smile. It’s what happens when we feel genuine happiness and emotion.
- The muscles we use with the Duchenne smile are the zygomatic major and the orbicularis oculi. The zygomatic major muscle, in the cheeks, controls the upward tilt of the lips. The orbicularis oculi muscle surrounds the eyes and causing crinkling.
- The orbicularis oculi can’t be forced to perform smiling (as the orbicularis oculi can). You can force your lips to smile, but not your eyes.
- Some of the more minor muscles in smiling include the levator labii superioris, levator anguli oris, and the risorius. These affect the tilt, width, and angle.
- Smiling is something we’re born knowing. Even a blind person smiles although they’ve never seen it before.
- Smiling is an important cue in social settings. We base interactions and impressions on the smiles from other people.
Whether you’re faking it till you make it or you’re genuinely happy, just smile. Even a fake smile can help, and eventually it’ll become real.