Smile more makes us happier

Smile more makes us happier

Smile is one of the points that many of us list our goals. Nevertheless, getting there is more complicated than we can think. Sometimes we have to do it without envy, by responding to a hypothesis: being happy makes us smile, just as smiling makes us happy.

The theory on which this principle is based determines how much communication with our body affects us morally. If we tend to adopt a depressed posture and a melancholy gesture, it is very likely that we also adopt this moral state. So we can say that our nonverbal communication has "side effects" on us.

Smile more helps us feel better.
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The functions of the smile

The smile is a universal gesture, which means that it is shared by the totality of humanity. What is strange is that it does not serve us only to prove that we are happy or happy. There are three types of smile:

  • Smile of happiness: it is the best known. It allows us to communicate our happiness to show the world that we are happy and that we feel satisfied and fulfilled.
  • Smile "social": this type of smile is not synonymous with happiness. It works to transmit the security to those around us. With this smile, we affirm to others that we are reliable and have nothing to fear. It's a smile we use on the street, in the supermarket queue … with people we do not know.
  • Smile of superiority: with him, we want to convey arrogance and give importance to others. This is a proof of pride and also the manifestation of an idea that we are thinking about right now: we are above the people around us.

Smile more promotes happiness

Although it's hard to believe it, the fact of adopting a relaxed and joyful posture allows us to feel precisely relaxed and happy. Smile more helps us savor happiness. There is a study done in the 1980s by Fritz Strack that demonstrates that.

In the study, two groups of people were exposed to comic sentences. One group had to read with a pencil in the mouth and the other one did not. This pencil stimulated the major zygomatic muscle which caused the elevation of the cheekbones characteristic of the smile.

The pencil bearer group proved to be more sensitive to humorous content than one who did not have a pencil. It could be concluded that replicating the gesture of the smile in a physiological way favors a positive moral state.

In this way, we developed a very influential theory in psychology which supports the fact that the gesture carries the emotion. In the same way that emotion produces the gesture.

Controversy associated with the Strack study

Following this first study, other studies were developed and attempted to replicate the result. Unfortunately, in none of them such clear results could be obtained. For this reason, this theory is currently debatable. There is no modern experience that strongly supports the results of Strack's study.

In fact, if we repeat the experience at home, facing a mirror, it is likely that another known phenomenon comes into play (a phenomenon frequently observed): the placebo effect. Thanks to this curious effect, we are able to experience the results of processes, drugs or treatments that lack active principles or real effectiveness.

Real exercises to provoke a smile (and happiness)

Faced with this situation, we should ask ourselves about the existence of exercises to smile more and therefore be happier. Professor Laurie Santos of Yale University demonstrates this with the most popular course in the history of this university. In his class How to be happy, she describes 5 daily actions to follow if we wish to increase our subjective state of happiness.

1. Gratitude list

Several times a week, if we can not every night,write in a notebook or a book what we are grateful for. We can do this by answering the following questions: What do we have that makes us happy and / or to whom do we feel grateful to be present in our lives?

2. Quality sleep

It is not a question of sleeping a lot, but of sleeping efficiently. With age, sleeping 8 hours a night becomes almost a utopia. It seems that the more we grow up, the less we need to sleep and have more problems making sleep difficult.

However, we all know the benefits of a good rest. For example, it contributes to the proper functioning of our hormonal system which affects vital functions such as metabolism, digestion or concentration.

3. Meditation

With only 10 minutes of daily meditation, our moral state improves. The effectiveness of this practice is more than demonstrated. In addition, it has an important quality: its practice can improve the full concentration (mindfulness).

4. Time with loved ones

Spending time with the people we love helps us to relax and forget the obligations and therefore ultimately to be happier. This is due to social connections and interpersonal relationships associated with moments of happiness : holidays, parties, celebrations, games …

5. Reduced time spent on social networks

Inevitably, spending time with our loved ones means dedicating less time to other forms of communication. An example: communicating by exchanging messages on a screen.

There is no doubt that social networks have a multitude of benefits, but "real relationships" pay the price. Let's think that real connections are much more important than the subjective perception of our quality of life. A smile of happiness is worthless if it is not shared more sincerely than with an emoticon.

And to finish, do not forget to smile more!

Happiness is made of little moments of joy

What do you think of the following statements about happiness, which makes our life a series of small but delicious portions? Learn more
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