Dr. Kim, your go-to dentist in Seattle, makes all of his patients smile. But have you ever wondered about the science of smiling and how it can simply make your day that much better? Leo Widrich from Buffer asked those same questions and dug into the science of smiling. In fact, research has determined genuine smiling leads to a happier and successful life.
Fake vs. Real Smiles
Our brain can distinguish when we are socially (fake) smiling or genuinely (real) smiling just by activating two muscles. When the muscles controlling the corners of our mouth are activated, it is a fake smile – also known as the “social smile.”
The second muscle encircling our eye socket shows sincerity (a real smile) when it is activated. Widrich gives an excellent comparison here.
However, while our brain is capable of distinguishing the difference between a real and fake smile, research has shown we are unable to tell the genuine smiles from the fake ones because of how easily our muscles are activated by simple actions such as putting a pencil between the lips.
What Smiling Does to Our Health and Success
Believe it or not, our brain tallies how often you smile and which overall emotional state you are in. It is “kind of like a smile scorecard.”
What does this mean to you? Smiling reduces stress and generates more positive emotions, making you feel happier.
According to Widrich, “Smiling leads to decrease in the stress-induced hormones that negatively affect your physical and mental health, say the latest studies.” In these studies, the people who smiled the most tended to live approximately seven years longer.
However, some of us have forgotten how to smile genuinely and Widrich provides three steps to a better smile:
1) Imagine a situation of joy before an event
2) Practice smiling in front of the mirror
3) Become comfortable with smiling
Smiling does so much more than showing off your pearly whites. It communicates happiness to those around you and can lead to a healthier, long life. In the words of Douglas Horton, “Smile, it’s free therapy.”
Let us know what you think. What do you get out of smiling? What did you think of Widrich’s article? Share your thoughts below.