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Real vs. fake smiles

Whenever we smile, there are 2 potential muscles we activate.

  1. The zygomaticus major and it controls the corners of your mouth. Whenever this muscle only is activated, it’s not actually a genuine smile. Scientists call this also the “social” smile.
  2. The second muscle, known to show sincerity is the obicularis occuli and it encircles our eye socket.

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Smiling and the brain

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

  • Smiling reduces stress that your body and mind feel, almost similar to getting good sleep, according to recent studies.
  • Smiling helps to generate more positive emotions within you. That’s why we often feel happier around children – they smile more.
  • Smiling leads to decrease in the stress-induced hormones that negatively affect your physical and mental health.
  • Smiling breeds trust, makes you happier and helps you to live longer.
  • Imagine a situation of joy before an event: Visualize someone you deeply love, or recall an event that brought you deep satisfaction and joy.
  • Practice smiling in front of the mirror. Practice activating both your mouth corners and your eye sockets.
  • Become comfortable with smiling. If in your head, you can imagine yourself going through the day and smiling lots to everyone and everything, that’s often when a happier life starts.

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RELATED IDEAS

  • 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.

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IDEAS

The ‘miserable smile’ is a stoical grin-and-bear-it expression – a slight, asymmetric smile with an expression of deep sadness pasted over the top.

Since Landis’ classic study, psychologists have found this tell-tale smirk on the faces those watching gory films – they were filmed by a hidden camera – and among patients suffering from depression. It's a socially acceptable way of showing that you’re sad or in pain.

Fake Smile Vs Genuine Smile

People think of a smiling person as likable, trustworthy, cooperative, and believable. But smiling is so easy anyone can fake it and exploit the other person.

Genuine smiles involve a few wrinkles around the eyes and are also called Duchenne smiles. The problem is people can also crank out a seemingly genuine smile on demand.