Smile! It’s Good For You!

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for coming out on this unexpected snowy Friday morning! Today’s topic was all about smiles. How many times do we smile a day? What makes us smile? What effects does smiling have on human behavior? Image result for smiling facesWe talked about the different cultures of smiling. How in some countries like Japan and Russia, smiling is more reserved than it is in the United States, Russians tend to smile at people they know. Japanese are considered reserved and less emotionally expressive. We all talked about in our own countries how, why, and when people smile. We listened to this radio clip about McDonalds fast food restaurant opening in Russia in 1990 and how the smile, in addition to the menu, was exported. Take a listen here to how the Russians adapted their smiles  McDonalds Comes to Russia.

So, since everyone seems to be smiling all the time, are all these smiles real or are some fake? Smiles generally indicate happiness, but, sometimes we smile because of a social norm. For example, you are introduced to your friend’s roommate (who you have never met) and what do you do? Smile and say hello. But are you really happy to meet the roommate? Probably not, instead you’re smiling to be polite and welcoming. This idea of a real vs. fake smile was explained long ago by Guillaume Duchenne, a French neurologist, who said that eye muscles and mouth muscles had to be engaged for a smile to be real. Related image

Look at this example, and you can see that the real or Duchenne smile is on the left – both mouth and eye muscles are engaged.

How about this one, below, can you spot the fake smile?Image result for duchenne smile vs pan am smile


We took a fun quiz and looked at 20 different smiles and picked the fake ones and the real ones. Good job, everyone – you know how to spot a fake smile! Here are the answers:Related image

Lastly, we talked about the power of smiling – how smiling can improve health, make you and others feel good, has the potential to make you more money, helps in love, friendships, and relationships. We watched this video The Hidden Powers of Smiling.

After watching we discussed Ron Gutman’s ideas and the research he discovered about the power of smiling. One interesting point he made was about this cycle of smiling and how it contributes to confidence and competency.  Image result for hidden power of smilingSo, let’s smile – it’s good for us, and everyone else too!

Words of the day

flatter (verb) : to praise (someone) in a way that is not sincere                                         Men often flatter women, when they want to ask them out on a date.

keep your cool (idiom) : {informal} to remain calm                                                               She was so frustrated that her kids were behaving so badly at the restaurant, but, she kept her cool until they got home.

tulip (noun) : a large, bright flower that is shaped like a cup and that grows in the spring                                                                                                                                       There is nothing like some tulips to make you smile!

Image result for tulips and smiles

Relax and practice! Make sure to use your superpower – smile!