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The Science of Smiling & Why It's So Powerful | Buffer Blog

Smiling and the brain

Smiling and the brain

Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a well-regarded pleasure-inducer, cannot match.

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What a smile can accomplish
What a smile can accomplish
  • Smiling can make you look younger and thinner.
  • Smiling elevates your mood and creates a sense of well-being.
  • One smile can gener...
The shadow of your smile
  • Trying to avoid negative emotions just to appear youthful or thin or even eternally positive can eventually have a psychological cost.
  • Other people can detect a fake smile. Try to make your smile real for yourself.
  • A smirky smile when you’ve beaten others in a contest will not help you win friends and influence people.
  • Some smiles are associated with discomfort or uncertainty about what to do in a difficult situation. “grin and bear it”
  • In some parts of the world, smiling can be judged as suspicious, shallow, naive, or a sign of dishonesty.
  • Smiling can come across as submissive in certain situations.
Smile ≠ happy
Smile ≠  happy

Those who smile often are thought of as more likeable, competent, approachable, friendly and attractive.

Of 19 different types of smile, only six occur when we’re having a good time...

Duchenne smile

Duchenne was interested in the mechanics of facial expressions, including how the muscles of the face contract to produce a smile.

The Duchenne‘ smile is long and intense, though it involves the contraction of just two muscles. First the zygomatic major, which resides in the cheek, tugs at the corners of the mouth, then the orbicularis oculi, which surrounds the eye, pulls up the cheeks, leading to the characteristic ‘twinkling eyes’.

Fear smile
“When bonobo chimpanzees are afraid they’ll expose their teeth and draw their lips back so that their gums are exposed,” says Zanna Clay, a primatologist at the University of Birmingham.

In babies, a broad grin can either mean they’re happy or distressed and studies have shown that men tend to smile more around those considered to be higher status.

Dale Carnegie’s advice to make people like you
  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember names. 
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the ot...
Actively showing interest in other people

When people speak, the best responses are both active and constructiveengaged, enthusiastic, curious and has supportive nonverbal action. Ask questions. Be excited. Ask for details. Smile. Touch. Laugh.

It's a powerful technique - it makes you more liked and people more receptive to your requests.

Smiling does make you more attractive
And by smiling we influence others to smile. People judge things more positively while smiling, so our own smile can set off a chain reaction causing more positive encounters.