People who smile a great deal tend to be more likeable. The reason may lie in the feelings associated with smiling for both the person and their audience. There may be some truth to the adage “fake it until you make it”.

The issue may seem small, but the importance of smiling cannot be ignored. Genuine smiling has been proven to change not just mood, but brain chemistry. The simple gesture can lift a bad mood and connect with others socially. When you smile at others, people feel at ease.

The physical benefits from smiling include relaxing the facial muscles, calming the nervous system, and being more resistant to stress or pain. Emotionally, we feel happier, calmer, and full of joy when we smile. When we smile at others with a genuine smile, we portray a positive image.

To receive the most benefits from smiling, we should implement the genuine smile, (also known as the Duchenne smile). This smile uses all of the muscles in the face. Unlike a grin, the Duchenne smile is large and wide and causes the fine lines around the eyes to crinkle. One site recommends holding a pencil or pen horizontally in your teeth to be able to feel the “smiling” around your eyes.

Depending on the person, there may be 43 muscles in the face (visit Science: How Stuff Works). Some people have more than that and can make more facial expressions than others. It is reported that some people have considerably less, perhaps up to 40% less than the “norm”. The muscles are controlled by the seventh cranial nerve (the facial nerve) which splits into five primary branches. The branches are known as the temporal, zygomatic, buccal, mandibular, and cervical.

Fake smiling can help to improve your mood as eventually, you will begin to feel happy. However, the full benefits are received when your smile is genuine.

A Note on Laughter

Just as fake smiling can lead to genuine smiling, laughter can do the same thing. A fake laugh can bring on a deep laugh and promote both relaxation and healing. Laughing works like a stress valve, allowing stress to escape when you are genuinely laughing at something.

Whether you are laughing or smiling, just remember you are making yourself healthier in the process and it’s infectious.  Smile at someone today and send healing.

“Smiling is quite magical. It transforms a situation. Because as soon as we smile, and we see the other person smile back, it becomes genuine….There is movement between hearts.”

Maticintin, Wisdom Master

HÜMÜH Clear Mind Buddhism