How to encourage happiness in others, by Karen Little


Blue and pink flower design by Karen Little

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When discussing the science behind relationships, the concept of "mirroring" refers to our innate understanding of non-verbal communications. Mirroring occurs when two or more people reflect each other's non-verbal expressions.


Mirrored expressions signal understanding, and depending on the situation, that understanding can be one of mutual trust or deep-seated hate.


To demonstrate the humorous side of interpreting facial expressions, log into TikTok.com and search for the topics "Restaurant Stories" or "Hair Salon Stories." One person in each skit plays all roles, charming and challenging. These stories tell about hair-stylist and waitstaffs' frustrations with cranky customers. (My favorite story-tellers are Alana and Theresa Van Dam, but TikTok showcases similar stories for almost all professions.)


For the purpose of this article, observe the expressions radiated by the story-tellers to encourage relaxation, trust, and even happiness. These expressions start with sincere smiling and strong eye contact.


Everyone can improve their interpersonal communications (even with pets) with smiling and good eye contact. To accomplish this, however, you may need to strengthen your facial muscles to hold a sincere appearance. Why? After hours in front of a computer or video streams, one's face becomes slack and expressionless, which can be hard to reverse when you interact with others.


The video, Science of Facial Expressions, shows the difference between a sincere smile and an attempted smile that, whether one means it or not, signals disinterest. Fortunately, if you find smiling uncomfortable, there are numerous online videos that teach facial expression, such as those produced for the Face Yoga Method.


Most of us want to make our family, friends, and even new acquaintances feel happy and comfortable when they are around us. The best way is to naturally radiate a happy and healthy facial appearance. Unlike the cranky customers portrayed in TikTok videos, most people do respond favorably to a welcoming disposition.


Bonus! Did you know that when you sincerely smile, you respond in kind?


By adopting a facial expression, you adopt what is called "facial feedback," meaning that your mood shifts to match the expression you make, rather than your expression being a slave to the mood you are in.


For a more fulfilled and fun life, consider investing in your own happiness by developing a strong smile, then living to enjoy your positive attitude by sharing it with others!


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Written by Karen Little of Sketch-Views


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