Can Smiling Make You Happier?

Smiling has been found to increase feelings of happiness. Psychologists believe this is because the brain interprets the flexing of certain muscles to be indicative of a particular mood. For example, the zygomatic major is the facial muscle responsible for controlling the corners of the mouth. When this muscle is flexed, it is thought that it triggers the neurological response that controls emotion. Another possibility is that smiling while around other people leads them to smile back, and the brain reads this as a social cue to feel happy.

More about emotions:

  • A facial muscle called the orbicularis oculi, which is located in the corner of the eye, is considered to be an indicator of a true smile and can’t easily be flexed on its own except when the person is laughing or smiling widely.

  • Not expressing negative emotions can help prevent a person from being in a bad mood. If this is done too often, however, the negative feelings can manifest in other ways. For example, the person might tend to jump to negative conclusions.

  • The first hypothesis that facial expressions can influence mood was put forth in 1872 by Charles Darwin, who believed that the inability to express pain could reduce feeling it.

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Post 6

@ddljohn-- Most people think that commands in the body only travel in one direction, from the neurons in our brain to the muscles in our body. But that's not true, commands go both ways.

So just as you smile when you're happy, you can also be happy when you smile. As the article said, when you smile, you will be sending a command to your brain to feel happy.

In the beginning, it might be a fake smile, but keep doing it and eventually, it will become a real smile.

I think smiling is the medicine for all troubles in life. I suggest everyone to keep smiling!

Post 5

@anon327929-- Wow! Your post is also inspirational!

Unfortunately, I'm generally a pessimistic person. I think I was born that way, I always look like I'm frowning. I think my negative thoughts unintentionally cause me to frown.

I wish I was a positive person who smiled all the time. I see such people, who always have a smile on their face. I really envy them. I feel that when people are positive and smile, people respond to them in a similar manner. So good things happen to people who smile.

I think I need to be a more positive person in general. When I'm positive, I'm sure I will be happier and I will smile more often.

Post 4

Behavior shapes attitude. That's actually a more robust finding than the other way around. A simulated smile tells your brain that you must be cheerful/happy/feeling positive emotions. The brain then gets on board and puts out happy neurotransmitter. That makes you smile more. It's all a wonderful, adaptive, evolutionarily useful cycle.

Post 3

This is interesting. I always thought that it was just the opposite, that when we're happy, we smile.

But how can we force a smile if we're not happy? Then, it will be a fake smile. I don't think a fake smile would make me happy.

Post 2

I like answering an inquiry or comment with a smile. I do behave in a serious manner, but most of the time I like to communicate with a smile of some sort, because that effort normally generates a positive and or pleasant return.

This practice covers a very high percentage of situations. I laugh wholeheartedly at jokes when they do not offend a person or group.

Post 1

I would fully support this view. When we examine the personal traits of every successful individual, we find that he or she has a marvelous psychological mechanism to bury the negative feelings, be it insult, abuse or even the feeling of guilt when it gets too deep, and then turn it into something positive, be it a future plan, a replay of the past hurtful event in a different manner, correlation of it to a joke or switch to a totally different activity that brings happiness.

Once we are internally happy at a very fundamental level, the display of it is bound to occur and it sets up a chain reaction between thought to thought, individual to individual, event to event, morning to evening and so on making you a source of light, inspiration and placing your heart and mind in the lap of profound peace.

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