Dr. Patricia Farrell on Medika Life

Control, There Are Reasons to Smile

A smile is more potent than you think, and it’s one way to improve your mood and relationships with others.

Whether spontaneous or for social reasons, smiling has powers that we often don’t consider. Fake smiles, after all, are perceived as someone not to be trusted. We need to have our guards up when we sense a disingenuous person.

But smiling has been shown to have a positive mode-enhancing ability. You can raise your level of happiness by pushing yourself to smile. Teachers can improve children’s learning ability because a smile creates a relationship change. Smiling teachers make school a pleasant experience rather than a dreadful chore.

According to some research, yes, smiling has an association between improvements in finance, career, and even the potential for marriage. For some couples, smiling or lacking it may signal an imminent divorce.

Smile, as the song says, though your heart is aching, and you may even improve your heart health because a positive attitude is associated with longevity and a decrease in mortality.

All, or most of us, are wearing masks these days because it has been recommended that this is the best way to control the spread of deadly viruses. How can you tell if someone is smiling? There is another way, and it’s something that has been utilized by artificial intelligence programs. I speak, of course, of the Duchenne smile, which is the amount of wrinkling around the eyes.

Wrinkling has a bad association, doesn’t it? But when wrinkling is associated with smiling, it indicates a genuine, optimistic emotional display. Sure, some people can fake wrinkling around the eyes to project a deceptive attitude about something or someone. Well, we can’t have it all.

Smiling does have something to do with the way I wrote an article and the couple I happened to meet in a hospital waiting area. We didn’t have to wear masks at the time, and their smiles were wonderful and genuine and very much appreciated. I needed a smile, and they, especially the woman, returned the favor.

How hard is it to smile? You pull those face muscles into an expansive grin, wrinkle up your eyes, and immediately you’re a different person. Yes, pulling those muscles in your face sends a signal to your brain that your mood is changing, and there’s a chemical reaction to lift your mood.

And smiling is contagious, so breaking out a smile helps others smile, too. If ever there was a free and readily available way to brighten the mood of a room or a group, it’s with a smile.

Of course, there are a variety of smiles, and some portend a degree of concern (think The Joker from Batman), but I’m talking about those smiles that signal openness and a willingness to enjoy something. These are the ones on which we should be concentrating, even in the darkest of times. Do I sound like a pollyanna? Sorry, but I refuse to dismiss this means of making myself or anyone who happens to be with me happier.

Even in restaurants or stores, smiles play an important role. “The “service with a smile” mantra has been universally proclaimed in the West for its enhanced effect on customer affect and service outcomes.” The smiling server or salesperson is usually more successful in making that sale or receiving a bigger tip.

Give it a try. See how many times you can turn something around today or tomorrow by smiling. It greases the wheels of success in careers, finance, and, as I indicated before, the possibility of marital bliss and courtship.

Go forth and smile.

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Pat Farrell PhDhttps://medium.com/@drpatfarrell
I'm a licensed psychologist in NJ/FL and have been in the field for over 30 years serving in most areas of mental health, psychiatry research, consulting, teaching (post-grad), private practice, consultant to WebMD and writing self-help books. Currently, I am concentrating on writing articles and books.

DR PATRICIA FARRELL

Medika Editor: Mental Health

I'm a licensed psychologist in NJ/FL and have been in the field for over 30 years serving in most areas of mental health, psychiatry research, consulting, teaching (post-grad), private practice, consultant to WebMD and writing self-help books. Currently, I am concentrating on writing articles and books.

Patricia also acts in an editorial capacity for Medika's mental health articles, providing invaluable input on a wide range of mental health issues.

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