Psychology of a Smile
Summer is almost here, but sometimes our winter blues can linger and keep us from feeling joyful. If you find yourself feeling down, try smiling.
It might have a bigger impact than you anticipated.
Fake it ’til you make it A smile is made possible because of the zygomaticus major, a muscle that contracts at the sides of the mouth. Studies suggest that when you smile, even insincerely, the mind registers an improvement in mood because it responds to the body’s actions. If the brain senses the zygomaticus major flexing, it interprets this as happiness and creates that emotion.
Live long and smile In addition to improving happiness, smiling may even prolong your life. A study of professional baseball players, conducted by researchers at Wayne State University, showed those who smiled genuinely in their 1952 Baseball Register pictures lived an average of five years longer than players who didn’t smile. This study provides some evidence that smiling is linked to people living longer.
Million-dollar mouth According to a study by the British Dental Health Foundation, one smile can generate the same level of brain stimulation as 2,000 bars of chocolate. Furthermore, that same smile can also produce stimulation on par with receiving $25,000 in cash. If you want to skip the calories and feel like you’ve gotten rich quick, try a smile on for size.
The bottom line: If you’re feeling blue, start flashing your pearly whites. The physiological and emotional effects you’ll get from a forced smile may eventually turn it into a real one.