Build Your Happiness by Smiling More
“A smile is the shortest distance between two people.” Victor Borge
Smiles are viral. When you smile, other people catch it and they spread it to more people. We instinctually mimic another person’s smile to help us determine if their smile is authentic. Smiling is like our internal radar. We send out a smile and they send a smile back. We mimic that smile and automatically interpret the results. The results enable us to intuitively know whether this person is friend or foe and what kind of mood they are in. Research also has shown that by measuring the smiles of people in their yearbook photos, scientists could predict how long-lasting and fulfilling their lives would be, how they would score on measures of well-being, and how inspiring they would be to others.
Faking a smile still makes us happy. Using our smile muscles sends positive messages to the emotional centers in the brain. So by forcing our faces to smile, we can activate the areas of our brain that make us feel better. In other words, we don’t just smile as a result of being happy; smiling actually makes us happier. Smiling also increases mood-enhancing hormones like endorphins, and decreases stress-inducing hormones like cortisol, so you become healthier as well as happier.
Most importantly, smiling makes you more attractive to other people. So smile. And if you can’t smile, fake it until you can.