Smile your way to happiness by Karen Little


Illustration of a smiling frog by Karen Little

Read or listen to this article about how smiling can trigger happiness!


Smiling, whether or not you have something specific to smile about, makes you feel happy.


Now try smiling when you are frowning or angry. You can't because of muscle counteraction. The muscles in your face tense in your forehead while at the same time, relaxing your cheeks.


Now, try frowning when you are smiling when the counterreaction is reversed! The muscles in your cheeks are now tense while the muscles in your forehead are relaxed.


Can you smile easily? Maybe not.


The way you physically express yourself affects behavior. It is difficult, for example, to take off on a fast run when getting out of a comfy chair because you are not poised for movement. Another example is getting out of bed in the morning when still partially engaged in restful sleep. If you are not ready to smile, then actually smiling becomes a task.


Test yourself by smiling steadily for up to 5 minutes. If, during that time, your facial muscles start twitching, your muscles are weak. What that might mean is during polite conversation, you look dower because your facial muscles remain slack due to the lack of exercise.


As many of us spend considerable time in front of a computer or TV screen, our smile response fades away, replaced by a blank look. With that, our ability to show and feel happiness also fades as we lose the ability to visually express our thoughts and feelings.


To contradict "computer face," practice smiling to regain your smile response as well as strengthen facial muscles. Smile when responding to friends on social media. Smile when the mood of what you are hearing or seeing is upbeat. Smile during periods of pleasant information. And of course, smile when you see pretty pictures and things!


The facial expressions you radiate to others usually result in similar expressions being radiated back to you. That transaction alone is always a welcome boost to your happiness!


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Written by Karen Little of Sketch-Views



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