The Science of Smiling

Believe it or not, a smile does a lot more than tell someone about your mood. Simply lifting the corners of your mouth can make strangers happier, improve your own mood and may even extend your lifespan if you do it often enough. After studying the effects of smiling, scientists have come to some not-so-surprising conclusions.

A big, genuine smile may mean a longer life. According to a study conducted at Wayne State University in 2010, players in an old baseball almanac who wore big grins lived more than seven years longer than the players who didn’t smile.

Smiles are contagious. This is one contagious behavior you won’t mind picking up. Not only do we feel like smiling when we see others with happy expressions, it’s also pretty difficult to frown when you’re looking at someone who is joyful.

Smiles send subliminal messages. Want your audience to feel a little goodwill toward your admittedly dull presentation? Sneak in a slide of a smiling face. Even when test subjects were shown an image of a smiling face for just four milliseconds, they perceived boring material as more interesting.

Even a fake smile can make you happier. In a bad mood? Make yourself smile. Even though it may not be one of those eye-crinkling, tooth-bearing, blinding grins, it will probably improve your spirits. It may even eventually lead to the real deal.


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