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Smile, And The Whole World Smiles With You

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A smile is one of the most obvious and effective methods of non-verbal communication. It is one of the first things someone notices about you. A smile, both physically as well as subconsciously, transmits the message, ‘I feel happy and I feel positive towards you’.

It is so easy to underestimate the power of the simplest universal language of all and how good it can make you and everyone else around you feel!

Smiling overcomes barriers and open doors for people. A sincere smile is a message of goodwill and it is considered a sign of hospitality and confidence when dealing with a friend or a business associate.

There is the saying ‘Smile and the whole world smiles with you.’ Well, sayings like this are actually grounded in fact. When you smile, it does tend to trigger off smiles in others around you. Even in extremely stressful situations, a smile can easily brighten up everybody’s mood.

The value of a smile is priceless. It can’t be bought, begged or borrowed.

It costs nothing to give, but is the most sincere gift that one might be able to give to another. A smile brings rest to the weary and is the best antidote for discouragement. It brings sunshine to the sad and hope to the hopeless.

Although many different types of smiles have been identified and studied, researchers have devoted particular attention to an anatomical distinction first recognized by French physician Guillaume Duchenne. While conducting research on the physiology of facial expressions in the mid-nineteenth century, Duchenne identified two distinct types of smiles. A Duchenne smile involves contraction of both the zygomatic major muscles (which raise the corners of the mouth) and the orbicularis oculi muscle (which raises the cheeks and forms crow’s feet around the eyes). A non-Duchenne smile involves only the zygomatic major muscle. Many researchers believe that Duchenne smiles indicate genuine spontaneous emotions since most people cannot voluntarily contract the outer portion of the orbicularis oculi muscle.

The History of Smiling

Many biologists think the smile originated as a sign of fear. Primalogist Signe Preuschoft traces the smile back over 30 million years of evolution to a “fear grin” stemming from monkeys and apes who often used barely clenched teeth to portray to predators that they were harmless. Monkeys and apes still do that. Biologists believe the smile has evolved differently among species and especially among humans. Humans smile differently. Some show their teeth when they smile, some don’t.

Facts about Smiling

• A smile is the most frequently used facial expression. It takes as few as five pairs of facial muscles and as many as 53 to smile.

• Regardless of the precise number of muscles used, smiling causes far fewer muscles to contract and expand than frowning.

• Smiling releases endorphins and makes us feel better.

• Even faking a smile can lead to feeling happier.

• People are born with the ability to smile (They don’t copy the expression, even babies who are born blind, smile).

• Babies reserve special smiles (Duchenne smiles of joy and happiness) for their loved ones.

• A newborn shows a preference for a smiling face over a non-smiling face.

• Women smile more than men.

• Younger people smile more than older.

• Young males with high testosterone smile least of all.

• There are 18 different kinds of smile used in a variety of social situations.

• Human beings can differentiate between the felt (Duchenne) smile (of joy and happiness) and the social smile it’s in the eyes (literally).

• A smiling person is judged to be more pleasant, attractive, sincere, sociable, and competent than a non smiling person.

• A person who studies laughter is called a gelotologist.

Smiling: The Health Benefits

• Smiling releases endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.

• Lowers blood pressure.

• Strengthens cardiovascular functions.

• Reduces stress hormones.

• Improved circulation.

• Increased muscle flexion.

• Oxygenates the body by boosting the respiratory system.

• Boosts immune function by raising levels of infection-fighting T-cells, disease-fighting proteins called Gammainterferon and B-cells, which produce disease-destroying antibodies.

• Triggers the release of endorphins.

• Produces a general sense of well-being.