Scientists believe that smiling will actually make you happier. But researchers are debating whether it has be a genuine self-initiated smile or if forcing yourself to smile out of habit (which potentially might make it more natural to smile in the long run) will have the same effects.
In a study involving 170 participants in which they were unwittingly utilizing the same muscles as a full smile (also known as a Duschenne smile), polite smile, and neutral expression by holding chopstick in their mouths, there were significant reductions in stress and recovery when the smile subjects finished their stressful activities.
The intensity of a smile may be linked to longer life and overall happiness. Marianne LaFrance a psychology professor at Yale University says, “People who smile more tend to elicit positive connections with other people.” Experts at the UCLA Brain Mapping Center says when people see a smile, mirror neurons fire in their brain and produces similar responses as if they were smiling.
Bottom line: The bidirectional nature of the research validates what we’ve known in the high performance arena for decades: your non-verbal body language can signal your internal state of mind, or you can use your body language to create/stimulate/enhance your internal state of mind.
A counter argument by the NYTimes:
Read more about the societal power of a smile on NBC:
Power of humor and how smiling relates to health on WebMD:
Read the full article here.
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