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Facts about smiling that will turn you into a grinning enthusiast.

You’ve probably heard the old cliche, “it takes more muscles to frown than smile!” And a lot of us have trouble accepting that point. Still, there are plenty of other reasons why this upbeat gesture is pretty much the best one out there.

Below are a few facts that just might inspire you to take up the happy habit of smiling:

1. Forcing a smile can actually make you happy.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that people who smile are generally happier people. Alongside that obvious observation is the fact that forcing yourself to smile can actually improve your mood.

This is because there is a strong link between smiling and happiness that is already in our heads. Tapping into it almost tricks our brain in a way.

While forcing yourself to smile constantly may not be the most consistent method of cultivating real happiness, it can still be a pleasant reminder of the things you do have a reason to smile for.

2. Smiling relaxes you.

It’s true! Researchers have found that people who smile amidst stressful activities are more relaxed than their counterparts who are frowning. So, the next time you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, consider putting a pencil in your mouth and stretching out those grinning muscles.

3. Smiling affects your voice.

This is very useful for any of you who talk on the phone for a living. Smiling makes you sound friendlier and more pleasant. If you smile while talking to your boss, for example, you might find yourself building rapport more effectively.

This is why people in customer service and sales are typically instructed to smile while talking on the phone. Because smiling tends to improve our moods and relax us, it affects other areas as well.

4. There are 19 different types of smiles.

This is more of a reason why you should pay more attention to which smile you’re using. Paul Ekman, a researcher at UCSF, identified 19 of these smiles and categorized them into whether or not they are polite or genuine.

For example, a polite smile is one that you force in order to accommodate a social situation. You may smile while someone is talking to you in order to foster a good conversation. A genuine smile, on the other hand, is one that uses more muscles and is brought about (usually) by conditions that actually make you want to smile.

My point is that you should always be going for that genuine smile. It comes off as less manufactured and ultimately makes you happier.

Related: “‘Science of Happiness’ Experiment Reveals What Truly Makes Us Happy.”

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