The face is a complex palette of emotions. A slight turning up of the lips and a crinkling of the eyes can signal pleasure, contentment, happiness, or satisfaction. But in all cases, a smile is more than it seems. A smiling person is often judged as more attractive, pleasant to be around, sincere, honest, sociable, and inviting and is considered more confident and successful. Smiling is not a learned action. Even those born blind will smile when experiencing a joyful moment. A carefree smile is a quick and easy way to tell the world that you are open to new experiences and eager to meet new people.
It is assumed that a bright smile stems from happiness, but research has also shown that genuine happiness can stem from a smile. Even a smile called forth when you don't necessarily feel like smiling can trigger the release of endorphins, brightening your day. The simple act of smiling can help relieve stress by relaxing your facial muscles and encouraging you to focus on happy memories. And a forced smile, which only involves the muscles of the mouth, can easily turn into a true smile, which lights up the entire face. A smile motivated by real happiness is likely to inspire someone nearby to smile, possibly because of the expression's origins in the primate grin. That grin, which some scientists believe evolved into the smile, signaled that the one grinning was a friend rather than an opponent.
In ancient China, Taoists taught the benefits of the inner smile because they believed it insured happiness, health, and longevity. One smile can lessen the sting of a negative mood and bring on a better one. But don't be self-conscious about it. Smiling is universal and looks great on everyone. A smile, directed inward, outward, or at nothing in particular brightens the world and is a gift to those who see it.
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