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Jul 102013
Fake smiles, genuine smiles. What makes you smile?

“Smile and the world smiles with you.”

Research indicates there is some truth to this statement. People react to a smile. However, not all smiles are created equal. We are not as likely to smile back to the polite, fake smile.

A real smile is known as a Duchenne smile, named after the French physician Guillaume Duchenne, who determined that when people smile politely only their zygomatic muscles move, pulling the corners of their lips upward.

In a genuine smile, the eye muscles move too, causing crinkling at the corners of the eyes. And the eyebrows dip slightly at the ends. Simply put, in a real smile the eyes smile too.

(Can you can tell the difference between a fake and a genuine smile? Try this BBC quiz.)

Smiling comes naturally when we’re happy. Studies suggest that the physical act of putting on a smile is a mood booster.

Many things make me smile. Here are a sample:

  • A child skipping down the street
  • A baby’s giggle
  • The sound of the first geese returning in spring
  • >Photographs of my daughter as a young girl
  • Fireworks
  • Blowing bubbles
  • Dancing
  • Some pieces of music

Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing. ∼Mother Teresa

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