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The Benefits of Smiling

In: English and Literature

Submitted By vikki190992
Words 2221
Pages 9
According to Wikipedia, “a smile is a facial expression formed by flexing those muscles most notably near both ends of the mouth and is customarily an expression denoting pleasure, happiness or amusement.” Smiles according to Eric Jaffe begin in our sensory corridors often caused by little emotional data often felt in pleasant situations like when the ear collects a whispered word, the eyes spot an old friend on the station platform or the hand feels the pressure of another hand (Jaffe 2010). He goes ahead to describe the processes involved in smiling beginning with the emotional data that runs through and excites the left temporal region of the brain, then to the surface of the face where two muscles are roused into action: “The zygomatic major, which resides in the cheek, tugs the lips upward, and the orbicularis oculi, which encircles the eye socket, squeezes the outside corners into the shape of a crow’s foot. The entire event is short, typically lasting from two-thirds of a second to four seconds and those who witness it often respond by mirroring the action, and smiling back.” (Jaffe 2010).
What if research were to show that the simple act of smiling at people can effect enormous positive changes in their lives and our lives too, just like Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” smiling can positively affect everyone around.
In this paper, I would be discussing, first the mimicry and emotional contagion of smiling and will finally talk about the benefits of smiling. I will not be covering situations were smiling isn’t condoned and I also will not be discussing how to force a smile in difficult situations.
Mimicry and Emotional Contagion
Smiling according to Darwin is a “universal display” (Darwin, 1872) of happiness, pleasure or amusement, and is believed to have deep evolutionary roots (Andrew, 1963; van Hooff,...

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