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The New Science of Smiling (It’s More Powerful than You Think)

Smiling is something almost all of us could do a bit more often. Past science shows that smiling – especially the kind of smile that involves the muscles around the eyes – creates a specific type of brain activation that’s connected to being in a happy mood. More recent research shows that even adopting this kind of smile, known as a “Duchenne smile” leads to lower heart rate levels and quicker recovery from stressful activities. Resilience and positive brain activity are maybe good reasons to grin a bit more in our lives, but there’s even a better reason.

The following video will show you exactly what that is.

That’s right…smiling and laughter are contagious!

Set any judgments aside for right now and ask yourself, what would the world be like if there was a bit more smiling and laughter? To me, it seems like it would be a happier and even kinder place.

Try the experiment of smiling a bit more today, stick some chop sticks in your mouth if you have to. Do this with your local grocery clerk, your neighbors, friends or the person walking by you on the street. Feel free to laugh in public, it turns out it’s an altruistic act. In fact, there’s an entire movement of Laughing Yoga that backs up this understanding

Here’s a short BBC clip below with John Cleese exploring laughing yoga in India. Watch it and see what comes up for you.

Smiling and even laughing in public more often will not only make yourself a bit happier, but the ripple effects can go further than you think. Start right now :).

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

The New Science of Smiling (It’s More Powerful than You Think)


Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is creator of the six month online program A Course in Mindful Living, author of the book Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind, the premier eCourse Basics of Mindfulness Meditation: A 28 Day Program, the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations. Join The Now Effect Community for free Daily Now Moments and a Weekly Newsletter. Dr. Goldstein is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles.


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APA Reference
Goldstein, E. (2013). The New Science of Smiling (It’s More Powerful than You Think). Psych Central. Retrieved on December 5, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindfulness/2013/11/the-new-science-of-smiling-its-more-powerful-than-you-think/

 

Last updated: 26 Nov 2013
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