You know that good feeling you get when something you do makes another person happy? Maybe you gave them the perfect gift, or surprised them with a thoughtful gesture, or just made them laugh. Here’s how you can inspire that kind of happiness all day, every day.
Smile. From your eyes.
According to some experts, there are 19 different types of smiles. For today, we’re just going to talk about the genuine smile – the one that makes your eyes light up.
Smiling from your eyes means that you not only contract the muscles that pull the corners of your mouth into a pleasant arc, you also contract the muscles around the eyes, raising the cheeks and making your eyes look twinkly. This kind of smile is also called the Duchenne smile, for the French neurologist Guillaume Duchenne, who studied human emotions as they relate to facial expressions.
That Duchenne smile only happens when someone is feeling positive emotion. The other 18 kinds of smiles can have very different (and sometimes sinister!) meanings. You’ve seen them – here are a few, to jog your memory:
The fake smile – this is the “smile for the camera” smile. It conveys no happiness because it only involves the mouth muscles.
The uncomfortable smile – this is the “I don’t really like what you just said, but don’t want you to see my discomfort” smile.
The sinister smile – this smile is trying to cover up bad intentions. An extreme example is the Batman character, The Joker.
Stand in front of a mirror and practice these different smiles. Look at how your face changes as you move through them, and notice how your feelings change, too. Now, practice the Duchenne smile – really go for the eye twinkle, and see how that makes you feel.
When you want to lift someone’s spirits, it’s as easy as lifting the corners of your mouth, your cheekbones and your own spirits. When you smile from your eyes, you’re telling the world that you are a happy, positive person. And you’re more likely to get smiles back, too!
I’d love to hear how you inspire happiness – please contact me here or on my Facebook page and share your wisdom. And if you’d like a happiness quick tip to show up in your “in” box to start each week off right, sign up and it’s yours. Just scroll to the bottom of any page on my website – the sign-up form is in the footer. Have a happier day!