Elevate Perspectives (January 2023): The Power of a Smile
We show joy, pain, anger, sadness, fear, and many other emotions with our faces. Now that masks are worn out in public all the time, we have missed interacting with others through our facial expressions. We use our eyes but the whole face conveys way more when we use it. Not only do our facial expressions communicate with others, but they also reflect our emotional state. It’s easy to forget that our facial expressions can also influence how we feel and even help us make adjustments for the better.
No one is happy all the time. Well, maybe Katherine here at Elevate is the closest example we have of someone who is in a good place pretty much all the time! Maybe it’s all the meditating she does… Anyway, since there are rough patches now and then we do get a bit down in the dumps occasionally. The reasons could be as simple as a grey sky or getting out of bed in a mood. Some of us unknowingly soak in this emotion and don’t realise that there is a super easy fix that we all can do.
Smile. There are so many kinds and we've heard that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile. According to Dr. David Song (University of Chicago Medical Center) who recently did a study on the topic, the average frown requires 11 muscles while an average smile requires 12.
The Muscles Used To Smile Are:
Zygomaticus major and minor –4
Orbicularis oculi –2
Levator labii superioris – 2
Levator anguli oris – 2
Risorius – 2
Total number of muscles: 12
The Muscles Used To Frown Are:
Orbicularis oculi – 2
Platysma – 2
Corrugator supercilii and procerus – 3
Orbicularis oris – 1
Mentalis – 1
Depressor anguli oris – 2
Total number of muscles: 11
Maybe the saying isn't true about smiling being the easier thing to do, although it is the more pleasant option, isn't it? And we are all born with the ability to do it!
Whether it’s forced or genuine, a smile has the power to lift us out of the blues. Don’t believe it? Give it a go. There’s even scientific evidence to back this claim. Read about it in Psychology Today HERE. You'll also learn some techniques to start turning that frown upside down.
Now that you know this, why not try it out? Not feeling great about work? Smile. A bit stressed about a life event? Smile. Don’t worry. No one will think you’re being creepy and anyway the smile is for yourself. Then when you interact with someone while you’re wearing your mask try smiling as you say, “Bye” or “Thank you”. They won’t know you’ve flashed them a smile beneath the mask, but you will, and by doing so create your own good vibes as you go along your way. And then when masks finally go out of fashion you can generously share your smile to the whole world!